The world's botanic gardens contain about a third of all known plants and help protect 40% of endangered species, a study has found. Scientists say that with one in five of the world's plants on the brink of extinction, botanic collections hold the key to saving rare plant life.
In the first detailed study of plants grown in botanical gardens, they recorded more than 100,000 species. Efforts are needed to target some of our rarest plants, they say. "This is the first time that we have carried out a global assessment to look at the wide range of plants grown, managed and conserved in botanic gardens," said Dr Paul Smith, Secretary General of the charity Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
Tropical plants were under-represented in the inventory of species. Meanwhile, primitive plants such as mosses were fewer in number compared with exotic specimens such as orchids and lilies. "Botanic gardens maintain in their living collections and seed banks an astonishing array of plant diversity, " Dr Smith explained.
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