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Miller Seed Vault

Seed vault mission
Species list
Can any seed be banked?

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How are seeds stored?
What is an accession?
Take a tour of the seed vault

Fund a rare seed collection


The Miller Seed Vault is a state-of-the-art facility specially designed for storing seeds under optimal environmental conditions in a secure facility.  Known as ex situ (off site) conservation, seed banking allows scientists to preserve the genetic resources of plant species so that these species are not lost in the event of a catastrophe.


processing seeds
Volunteer Sarah Bailey prepares Sidalcea nelsoniana
seeds for longterm storage in the Miller Seed Vault.

The mission of the Miller Seed Vault is to:

  • collect and conserve seed of over 320 rare plant species in Washington,
  • conserve the seed of native species used to restore native plant communities following a natural disaster, and
  • conserve the seed of horticultural varieties not commonly used today.



What's in the seed vault?

Since 2003, Rare Care has added 93 species of rare native plants to the seed vault. In 2010, 23 collections were added to the vault representing nearly 800 new accessions. The collections represented 18 species, 13 of which were new to the seed bank. Collections were contributed by Rare Care staff and volunteers as well as by botanists from public agencies and non-profit organizations.

Read Rare Care's latest Seed Collecting Annual Report.

Interested in volunteering for the seed bank program?

Check our Volunteer Opportunities to find out how you can collect seeds and assist with the seed vault operation.
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UW Botanic Gardens | School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
College of the Environment | University of Washington

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Washington Rare Plant Care & Conservation, UW Botanic Gardens, 3501 NE 41st Street
Box 354115, Seattle, WA 98195-4115 | 206.616.0780 | rarecare@u.washington.edu

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