Why Botanical Gardens collect plants
Botanical Gardens are sites of variety. Some may ask, what for this is necessary. The standard reply: to protect biodiversity. Biodiversity is at stake, we all know that. To preserve species from extinction, is certainly important. But plant collections are valuable also here and now - during evolution a species has only survived, because it coped with problems posed by environment. Plant collections are therefore nothing else than collections of troubleshooting, which are useful also for us. These troubleshooting strategies have been - and that makes them different from technical strategies - tested during a test procedure spanning many millions of years, termed evolution and they are now available for human use as so called genetic resources.
The Botanical Garden of the KIT differs from most other gardens: We do not only talk about genetic resources, we really exploit them really and intensively for research and application. Since we are a relatively small garden, we had to consider very precisely, which plants we want to collect. We have then concluded to focus on Crop Plants and their Wild Relatives and we have then put this conclusion into reality. During the work of years we have assembled genetic resources, that are unique and meanwhile are also used by our cooperation partners: