The Orchid Seedbank Project, founded in 1996, works towards the conservation of orchid species by seed. We store and sell the seeds of hundreds of orchid species, along with the products, components,
and information you need to germinate and grow them. We also sell protocorms, seedlings, and copies of our book, Asymbiotic Technique of Orchid Seed Germination. Proceeds from our sales go to further research and
education in orchid conservation, as well as improvements in short- and long-term orchid seed storage.
The OSP serves as a clearinghouse for orchid seed. Before the formation of the OSP in December of 1996, there was no central clearinghouse by which conservationists, researchers, commercial and
hobbyist growers could go to specifically for orchid seed.We try to do is foster conservation through propagation of orchids. We send out information, products, new research data, and, well... lots of stuff. Our
recipients don't just get seeds- they get our best advice, information, and (in developing countries and research labs) some of the compounds and chemicals needed to keep going.
We'd like to work with more growers in developing countries to help get them going with more information (such as copies of our book), and spreading information about media that can be formulated
inexpensively, using fertilizer and other readily available chemicals. We also do some research here to develop new formulae.
Orchids comprise the largest family of flowering plants. With somewhere between 19,000 and 23,000 species, it is difficult to manage an effective conservation plan for so many different plants. In the
face of possible extinction from collection of plants from the wild, in conjunction with the destruction of natural habitats for these species, it is imperative that orchid growers do something to help buffer these species against extinction.
CITES and other regulations make it difficult to trade live plants internationally for conservation or other purposes. Seed is relatively unburdened by restrictions (see seed), readily stored and shipped.
What the OSP does is relatively simple: we receive seed from all over the world, and examine it for quality (presence/absence of embryos, and soon 2,3,5-TTC testing for determining whether it is alive
or not), and then add it to the OSP seedlist. We also have a mailing list (contact ahicks51(at)REMOVEcox.net for addition to the mailing list) to let growers know when new seed comes in.
The donor receives credit for their donation; it has stood at 4:1 since the OSP started. What this means is if we can make 4 packets for other growers from your donation, we will give the donor 1 free
packet of their choice. If we can make 8 packets, we will give the donor 2 packets, and so on. We pay the shipping, anywhere in the world. This prevents the costly exchange of money in many cases.
What we do has several effects, two of which are very direct. The first is that we provide large quantities of clean, dry orchid seed in order to provide relatively large numbers of identified species
in cultivation. Why collect wild plants when you can purchase specimens growing in a greenhouse? Thus, collection pressure (in theory) is reduced.
Secondly, plants are kept in cultivation, buffering them from extinction. If a wild population is wiped out, the genome is conserved by having plants growing in collections in many places.
Moreover, once in flask, plants are readily shipped internationally. Collectors everywhere can accept plants from other nations, generally without restrictions. Orchids from seed have great value in
We cannot guarantee germinability of the seed we ship, but we strive to maintain high quality seed. Check our germination list for updates on high quality seed.
Or, if you're looking to experiment, just ask us to send you seeds that have germinated recently. We are constantly testing batches of seed to determine their quality, as well as to experiment
with different techniques for storage. As a result, we rely upon the quality of our seed as much as you do. E-mail us and request germinable seed, if you just want to try the techniques. We will do our best to
provide you with seed that has proven germinable for us or other growers in the recent past, and therefore should do the same for you.
The OSP exists strictly for conservation: the species of orchids come first. We will sell no hybrid seed, although we very occasionally have "natural" hybrids available, mimicking what
occurs in nature. We cannot accept hybrid seed for credits (sorry).
We will do our best to work with conservationists, researchers and educators to swing things in their favor: if there are species you seek, let us know. We have a wanted list. If you want to show your
students how it's done, contact us and we will send you seed with demonstrated viability to assist with your teaching. Good causes will not go without: We will work with you to provide you with media,
seeds, tools and supplies at a discount or sometimes for free.
We do our best to provide reliable, aggressive service to everyone: time is running out. Hang a capsule for the OSP. Ask how you can help, and spread the word. We'll go back to playing with
hybrids when we have assured the natural populations of each and every orchid species have stabilized (which never really happens in the wild, anyway).
Make no mistake about it: the OSP is here to stay. We'll do our best to help you and growers everywhere to help produce orchid species from seed. We're in it for the long haul, and we need
your help! Eschew hybrids, help produce seed, and send it to other growers. We hold no secrets as to our storage techniques, shipping, etc.: everything we do is for the benefit of growers everywhere, and we will
disseminate our techniques, the fruits of our research, and knowledge whenever requested.
Moreover, we'll start posting our research findings here (eventually), and our book on asymbiotic technique of orchid seed germination is finished!
Your contributions to the fight are welcomed.