Plant species to be protected by UK experts

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A plant used to make a valuable spice is to be protected by UK scientists working on behalf of a European Union-funded initiative.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the Crocusbank scheme has recruited the help of Leicester University experts.

The project hopes to protect the future of the saffron crocus by creating new variants from its wild ancestors.

Mainly grown commercially in southern Europe, Iran and Kashmir, the plant is at risk of diversity loss due to disease, flooding and the fact that most growers use clone strains.

However, Crocusbank experts are planning to track down smaller growers, who may have their own heirloom or rare variants.

They will protect these by placing some of the plants in a bank in order to keep them alive, even if the grower suffers some sort of disaster.

In other news, the RHS has revealed that a large area of former industrial land in Manchester is to be filled with plants and trees.   - 13 April 2010
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Plant species to be protected by UK experts

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