Glossary

Accession (n.)
An item formally accepted and maintained as part of the preservation Collection.

Biennial (n.)
A plant that completes its life cycle in two years, flowering and fruiting in the second year.

Black-box storage (n.)
Seed storage in which the repository genebank (e.g. Svalbard) has no entitlement to its use and distribution. The depositor (e.g. SSE) must monitor seed viability over time and use its own collection to regenerate seed as viability decreases. Seed is not disturbed without depositor permission and is returned if the depositor’s base collection is lost or destroyed.

Cambium (n.)
A layer of tissue between the inner bark (phloem) and the wood (xylem), which produces new phloem on the outside and new xylem on the inside and originates all secondary growth in plants, forming the annual rings of wood.

Certified potato seed (n.)
Seed potato that has been certified as disease-free and safe; many states require that seed potato producers certify their product.

Certified organic (adj.)
Adhering to a federal set of organic standards defined by
the National Organic Program and certified by state, private, or non-profit parties approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Cure (v.)
To dry vegetative material down to an appropriate moisture level for storage.

Explant (n.)
A piece of tissue taken from a plant and placed in a culture medium.

Ex-situ (adj.)
Conservation of plant genetic resources that occurs away
from the plant’s original habitat, such as at a seedbank. Ex-situ literally means “off-site.”

Genebank (n.)
A location of safe storage for genetic resources, in this case
seed and plant vegetative material, where the primary activity is to prolong the viability and quality of the plant material.

Genetic drift (n.)
The process of change in the genetic composition of a plant
population due to chance or random events rather than by natural selection; particularly a problem in small populations.

Germplasm (n.)
A collection of genetic resources for a plant, which may be
stored as a collection of seed or vegetative material.

Growth medium (n.)
A liquid or gel designed to promote the growth of an
organism, like a small plant. Plural: media.

Heirloom (n.)
Any garden variety that has been passed down within a
family or group, similar to pieces of heirloom jewelry or furniture.

Hybrid (n.)
The offspring of a deliberate cross between two parent
plants.

Induct (v.)
To initiate plant material onto a medium, thus beginning
the tissue culture process.

Inoculum (n.)
In this instance, a substance that inoculates, or introduces,
pathogenic microorganisms to other living material.

Insect pollination (n.)
Pollination that requires insects, such as bees, to transfer
pollen from male to female flowers.

Open-pollinated (adj.)
Pollinated by wind or insects, without human intervention.

Rootstock (n.)
A root or piece of root onto which scionwood of the desired
parent tree is grafted.

Scarify (v.)
To cut or nick a hard seed coat in order to hasten
germination. Chemical methods of scarification also exist but are not used at Seed Savers Exchange.

Scionwood (n.)
A cutting of wood from the desired parent tree that is
grafted onto existing rootstock.

Self pollination (n.)
Pollination that occurs in plants with perfect flowers, or
flowers possessing both male and female parts. Fertilization occurs within each individual flower and does not depend on wind or insects.

Stigma (n.)
The part of the pistil of a flower, usually on the tip of the
style or ovary, which receives the pollen and on which it germinates.

Style (n.)
The narrow, usually elongated part of the pistil connecting
the ovary with a stigma.

Sub-culture (v.)
To re-cultivate the potato variety again on a new medium,
by using a sample of the original plantlet.

Top-set (n.)
A miniature bulb formed instead of flower buds at the top
of a non seed-producing onion, which can be planted to regenerate the onion. Not all onions produce top-sets.

Vegetative propagation (n.)
A form of asexual reproduction by which new individuals
arise without production of seed or spores. E.g. garlic, potatoes, and some onions.

Vernalization (n.)
The process of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures,
which is required by some plants to initiate flowering.

Wind pollination (n.)
Pollination that depends on wind to transfer pollen from
male to female flowers. Many grasses, grains, and trees are wind-pollinated.