At the recent Fourth Global Botanic Gardens held in the National Botanic Gardens in June 13-18th 2010 a new network of gardens and individuals working on conservering RARE Fern, moss, liverwort and lichen (Cryptogams) species as “insurance collections” in Gardens accross the globe was launched. The importance of these mostly diminutive representatives of our flora was outlined and the role gardens can play in their conservation was outlined. Scroll down for more information.



Cryptogams in Botanic Gardens

Outcomes and recommendations from conserving Hidden Biodiversity Session: Cryptogamic plants

Convened by: Noeleen Smyth

Presented by: Margaret Ramsey, Christopher Ellis, Uliana Spirina, Christina Campbell & Emer Ni Dull

Conservation of these ‘lower plant species’ is extremely important given the high percentage of the European non-vascular flora that in particular the UK and Ireland hold. These cryptic species and conservation of them is a newly emerging area for botanic gardens, many countries and botanic gardens around the globe do not even possess a list of bryophytes for their region, this should be addressed as part of the Global and Local Strategies for Plant Conservation in that cryptogams are a major proportion of plant species and in turn biodiversity.

The importance of these species as environmental indicators and for restoration, reintroduction and remediation projects is an area which botanic gardens involved with ex situ collections and growing of these species should become involved with.

Many of these species are not suitable to spore banking and also many of the extremely rare species do not produce spores, alternative long term storage such as in vitro and cryopreservation should be considered in botanic gardens alongside traditional seed banking projects. A network of botanic gardens working with cryptogams will be initiated as a result of this session at the 4th Global Congress.

Contact: noeleen.smyth at