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Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit


The Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit (MPCU) of MAICh is a unit dedicated to the study and conservation of Mediterranean plants and to supporting educational and research activities of the M.Sc. programs of MAICH. Its main objectives are:

  • Conservation of native, rare and endemic flora, either by ‘ex situ conservation’ (by transferring plants outside their natural habitat, such as seed collection and storage in the Seed Bank) or by ‘in situ conservation’ (implementing measures to preserve the natural habitats and populations of plants, e.g. Plant Micro-Reserves).
  • Conservation of landraces from Crete and other regions of Greece.
  • Studies and research on native Mediterranean plants (germination biology, ecology, geographical distribution, uses, threats, etc.)
  • Training on plant conservation methods for pre-and post-graduate students, technical and scientific personnel of other institutions with related activities (e.g. Forest directorates, Management Bodies of protected areas, seed banks, etc.)
  • Increasing public awareness about the value of our natural heritage through the creation of a demonstrative Botanical Garden and Information Centre, the publication of brochures, leaflets, and creating audio-visual material.

The main facilities of the MPCU of MAICh are:

Seed Bank

Seed BankThe Seed Bank, founded in 2000, focusing on the endemic and threatened wild plants of Crete (~200 species, ~800 accessions), but also on rare local landraces of cultivated plants (~350 accessions), mainly legumes, vegetables and cereals. The infrastructure of the seed bank provides for all the essential steps for the preservation of the seed germplasm, such as collection (well experienced personnel on collection of Cretan flora and on plant identification), seed drying (Drying Room with relative humidity 15-20% and temperature 15oC), and storage (Cold Room at -18oC). In addition, there is a fully equipped laboratory for germination experiments (six germination chambers with controlled temperature and light conditions, dark room with safety light for studies on seed dormancy, etc).

Botanical Garden

Botanical GardenThe Botanical Garden, founded in 2001, where endemic and threatened plants are cultivated for demonstration and education purposes. It is closely linked with the seed bank and covers an area of approximately 0.5 ha. An Information Center for the Cretan natural environment is also located in the area of the Botanical Garden.


HerbariumThe Herbarium, significantly contributing to the work of the Unit and functioning since 1991, where more than 9,000 specimens from Mediterranean plants are preserved and disposing all the required facilities for taxonomic identification of plants in the East Mediterranean region.

The MPCU participates in several national and E.U.-funded research and cooperation projects (Interreg, LIFE, FP6, etc.) and contributes to the implementation of national policies for environmental protection and in particular for plant genetic resources, as shaped by national and European legislation (e.g. Presidential Decree 67/81, Habitat Directive 92/43, Bern Treaty, CITES).

The MPCU of MAICH is a member of the European Native Seed Conservation Network (ENSCONET) and of the Network of Mediterranean Plant Conservation Centres, named GENMEDA.


Christini Fournaraki, Biologist PhD, flora@maich.gr
Panagiota Gotsiou, Biologist MSc, yiota@maich.gr 
Eleni Markaki, Technician Agronomist, elemar@maich.gr
Adamantia Kokkinaki, Biologist MSc, adamantia@maich.gr

Tel. (+30) 28210 35053


Last update: Jul 19, 2017