Seed Bank History


The Chicago Botanic Garden was approached by the the Millennium Seed Bank Project at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to become one of their US collecting partners.  Beginning in 2003, the Chicago Botanic Garden committed to collect seeds from 2,000 native species across the Midwest, with an emphasis on tall grass prairies species.  We began our seed banking program as a partner with the Millenium Seed Bank Project that sought to collect and bank the seeds of 10% of the world's flora by 2010.  Having hit that target, and with the goal of conserving prairie plants before they become imperiled, the Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank expanded the goal to become a working collection of the most important plants for restoration of the tallgrass prairie. Due to massive land-use changes the tallgrass prairie, which used to be an endless ocean of grass, has been reduced to less than 0.01 percent of its former range - making it one of the world's most threatened habitats. 

In 2008, along with 6 other US botanic gardens and the Bureau of Land Management, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding ratifying the Seeds of Success as the national native seed collection program in the United States coordinated by BLM.  The Seed Bank moved to the new Plant Science Center in September of 2009.