The Seed Photography Lab documents the physical characteristics of seeds. These images capture the beauty of plants on a smaller scale and are used by botanists to help identify and differentiate closely related species for taxonomic research.
Through natural selection, plants have evolved mechanisms that ensure their seeds remain dormant, waiting for the ideal conditions to germinate thereby giving their seedlings the best chance to survive and grow. Our research focuses on understanding these cues needed to break dormancy in order to propagate and grow the plants for restoration or further research.
The Garden’s seed bank houses more than 4,000 accessions that act as an insurance policy for some of the most critically imperiled species. The primary focus of the collection is on the long-term conservation of Sonoran Desert species, but it also contains plant seeds from other deserts of the world. By drying, sealing and freezing the seeds to sub-zero temperatures, they can be preserved for decades or even centuries.