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Modern plant Noah in Taiwan



February 2, 2016

How do you collect, keep and record more than 27,000 different plant species? Professor Li Chia-wei of Taiwan is on a mission to collect specimens of all the world’s living plants. And he already has the biggest living plant collection in the world.

Worried that some of the word’s eco-systems are facing irreparable damage and decline, biology Professor Li wants to save as many as he can, learn how to propagate them and potentially reintroduce them back into the wild.

His living collection gets around the problem of conserving many tropical plants which resist efforts to freeze their seed.

Although there are conservation efforts around the world to collect endangered plants, Professor Li believes that they are all potentially endangered. He says:

“There were plants that were so popular at one point, but you later discover as soon as months later that they have been completely removed or had their habitats destroyed… So based on our encounter, we will grow any plant we can collect”

Kew Gardens in the UK has 18,000 taxa and the Missouri Botanic Gardens has 17,500 but nothing comes close to Professor Li’s collection, which is housed in the Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Centre in Taiwan.

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