Jardins Botaniques du Grand Nancy et de l'Université de Lorraine

Index seminum

 The 2019 / 2020 Index Seminum may be downloaded here in PDF format:



To receive the index seminum paper version catalogue: index.seminumcjbn(at)grand-nancy.org


The role of the index seminum

Catalogues of seeds for botanical garden use

To add to their collections, botanical gardens mainly use seeds and operate by exchanging seeds.

There is an international seed exchange system that is free and based on reciprocity.  Seed catalogues or index seminum are circulated every year between botanical gardens worldwide. These exchanges are regulated and strictly reserved for botanical gardens. For example, the Jardins botaniques du Grand Nancy et de l'Université de Lorraine work within a network of over 800 contacts worldwide. They are also registered as a member of the International Plant Exchange Network (IPEN) and conform to a strict code of conduct in accordance with the convention on biological diversity. 

Work linked to seeds is often little-known to the general public, but it requires a good deal of time and effort. Identification, harvesting, checks on seed quality, cleaning, packing, shipping to our contacts and receiving our orders and, of course, sowing the seeds are key tasks in the life of the botanical gardens.
On average, the Jardins botaniques du Grand Nancy et de l'Université de Lorraine receives 1400 lots of seeds every year and ships 2000 to other botanical gardens.

There is a high risk of hybridization in a garden. Seeds collected in nature are therefore always used in preference by botanical gardeners to enrich or supplement collections presented to the public.

An index seminum is therefore usually divided into 2 headings: 

- seeds harvested in nature to guarantee genetic purity.
- seeds harvested in botanical gardens.

Total traceability is required to comply with the rules established in the network. Seeds harvested in Lorraine or in the Jardins botaniques du Grand Nancy et de l'Université de Lorraine (in greenhouses, open-air collections and at Le Haut Chitelet High Altitude Gardens) will travel the whole world and we need to be able to give our peers full information about these plants.

Harvesting and exchanging seeds via an index seminum is therefore one of the key missions of a botanical garden in order to present scientifically useful collections within a network that is working towards a fuller knowledge of plant diversity in compliance with the convention on biological diversity.