Seeds and the seed catalogue – University of Copenhagen

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Seeds and the seed catalogue

(Index Seminum)

About 5000 lots of seeds (mostly from herbaceous species) are harvested each year. The main steps in the treatment of the seeds are the following:

  • Labels are printed out from the database and placed on the bags for seed harvest.
  • Harvest of each accession (May until October). Sometimes an accession is harvested twice to ensure the best result.
  • A first rough threshing of the harvested material.
  • A second thorough threshing of the material.
  • The bags with the cleaned seeds are arranged alphabetically. Each bag is affixed a 'control bag' taken from the central register.
  • Seed control. The newly harvested seed accessions are checked for genuineness by comparing with the seeds contained within the 'control bag'. Seeds to be sown out are placed in separate paper bags, while other seeds from each specific collection are placed in a dated envelope and deposited in the bigger 'control bag'.
  • If spare seeds remain, the bags with these are sorted alphabetically and placed in special boxes. The data from the bags are recorded on the computer and a list is printed out for the preparation of the current year's seed catalogue, the Index Seminum. In this catalogue seeds harvested from the wild in Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands) are enclosed, as well as wild seeds collected in various other places in Europe.

The Index Seminum is distributed to some 1,000 institutions throughout the world. Each year about 9,000 lots of seeds are sent out to c. 350 recipients.