Plant species given Breton lifeline

Plants native to Madagascar now being grown in Brest, Finistère

Jane Hanks visits a unique botanical conservation centre in Brittany that is saving exotic plants from extinction

The Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest in Finistère was the first garden in the world dedicated to saving endangered plant species.

It was the prototype for the network of 11 Conservatoires Botaniques which are responsible for protecting and studying plant life for the whole of France.

It now houses the biggest concentration of plants in danger of extinction in France and one of the biggest for endangered plants all over the world.

It also specialises in plants from oceanic islands.

Some of these plants no longer exist in the wild and only in a few gardens and other conservation gardens.

It has a seed bank with 2,000 varieties in danger from all over the world. In all there are over 4,000 different varieties of plants, 406 which are in immediate danger and 66 of which are extinct in the wild.

The garden was created by a local man, Jean-Yves Lesouëf who wanted to create a kind of Noah’s ark for plants on the brink of extinction from all over the world. He said in an interview with the ...

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