Exceptional plants are those that cannot be conserved long-term using conventional seed banking methods. This includes species with recalcitrant seeds, with few or no seeds available for banking, or with short-lived seeds. Such species require alternative conservation technologies for ex-situ conservation, which rely heavily on cryobiotechnology and in vitro methods.

Threatened exceptional plants (TEPs) pose significant challenges for conservation. These challenges were outlined in a Statement of Need, issued as the result of a workshop on conserving threatened exceptional plant species by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on October 21, 2013, as part of the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Exceptional plants were the focus of a Roundtable Discussion at the 6th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, June 26-30, 2017, entitled: Advancing the ‘Exceptional Plant Conservation Network’: addressing challenges, making connections and taking action for species that cannot be conserved through conventional seed bank approaches. A summary of the Roundtable Discussion can be found here.

We will be developing the resources on this site over the next few months and plan to include a list of exceptional species, information and links to information on the species and alternative conservation technologies, ways to link to other researchers working with exceptional species, as well as other supplemental information.

The EPCN is a global effort and will benefit from the input of all researchers who are working on the conservation of TEPs. As the site develops, there will be places to add information on what species are exceptional, which ones are being conserved or are under study, etc., but to provide information now or to sign on as an interested member of the network, please send a message to [email protected].