Native Seeds/SEARCH conserves several wild species, many are the wild ancestors of modern domesticated species. Our collection of wild crop relatives includes teosinte (ancestor to domesticated corn), wild tepary beans, wild gourds, and chiltepins (ancestor to many domesticated chiles). Ancient inhabitants of the region selected and saved seeds of wild species over thousands of years giving rise to the rich agricultural biodiversity present today.
Crop wild relatives are important genetic resources for crop breeding, used to improve pest and disease resistance, increase tolerance to environmental stress, improve yield, and facilitate breeding techniques. Wild plants are increasingly threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change. The conservation of wild relatives in seed banks, such as Native Seeds/SEARCH, is important for the preservation of the world's agricultural biodiversity.
We are proud to offer small quantities of a few wild crop relatives conserved in the Native Seeds/SEARCH collection.