October 15th 2009, Kew Millennium Seed Bank of UK held the ceremony to welcome the wild banana seeds from China as the No. 24200 wild plant seed preserved by this organization. This seed bank planed to collect 242,000 kinds of wild plant seeds and thus the wild banana seeds from China 'helped' to fulfill its tenth goal of the collection and storage.
Paul Smith, the principal of Kew Millennium Seed Bank, said that they warmly welcome the wild banana seeds from China to become the 'milestone' which indicated the stage achievement of storage goal of the organization and they chose the wild banana seed as it was worthwhile and influenced by the changes of natural environment. In addition, he said that Kew Millennium Seed Bank planed to increase its kinds of preserved wild plant seeds into more than 60,000 in 2020, fulfilling 25% target of the seed bank’s storage plan.
Kew Millennium Seed Bank, built in 2000, is one of these large seed banks in the world, which mainly focuses on those endangered wild plants and carries out scientific research on these seeds.
Yang Xiangyun, from Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made a special trip to bring the seeds of wild banana. She introduced that the wild banana mainly distributes in Yunnan, China and neighboring countries in Southeast Asia and is one of the major food for wild Asian elephants. The local residents also eat its young stem and flower.
She said that there used to be many wild banana trees in Yunnan, but the number is reducing due to the changes of climate and natural environment in resent years. According to the related agreement reached by Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Kew Millennium Seed Bank, the wild banana seed was put into the seed bank and this measure can help to protect the wild banana and its gene resources.
Yang Xiang-yun, the current superintend of the supporting system of the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species in Southwest China , said that the germplasm bank is a major scientific project built in resent years in China and it now preserves thousands of plant seeds and is constantly expanded. The English and Chinese plant research institutions often exchange seeds so as to make mutual backup and enhance the protection and research of related plants.