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Important contributions to the flora of the UAE were made by a series of joint botanical collecting trips involving the staff of Kew Herbarium and SSBH which led to the addition of five new records to the flora of the UAE (Heller and El-Keblawy 2013).
Seed banking is an important strategy for doing this and the SSBH has pioneered seed banking of wild plant species in the UAE.
Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council member and Ruler of Sharjah, to the conservation of natural habitats and plant genetic resources of the region, the SSBH was established in 2009 with technical support from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK.
The top 10 families with a large number of seed accessions in SSBH include Poaceae, Fabaceae, Amaranthaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Boraginaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Convolvulaceae, and Zygophyllaceae (Fig.
In the routine research activities of SSBH, germination trials are conducted for all seeds, whether for short or long-term storage.
SSBH Herbarium: a powerful resource for plant conservation efforts in UAE
For this reason, the SSBH aims to build up comprehensive herbarium collections for the flora of the UAE.
2 Taxonomic coverage (as per families) of the SSBH Herbarium.
The SSBH herbarium is an important source of reference on UAE flora with the database being useful for conservation, taxonomy, flora, phenology, palynology, and other research purposes.
At the SSBH Herbarium, the distribution records of species are constantly revised as new data are acquired.
Dr Mufid Samarai, a senior advisor at the SRA, and the research team are working towards the new facility for SSBH and SRA with full technical and administrative support.
The new facility will house special laboratories for the SSBH -- specifically the seed studies lab, the herbarium preparation room, the cold room, the drying room, the preparation room, and the plant reception room.
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