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Preservation

Herbarium | Museum | Botanical Heritage | The Seed Bank

Herbarium

A collection of over 6000 dried and pressed specimens

The St. George Village Botanical Garden Herbarium is a collection of over 6,000 dried and pressed plant specimens representing about 80 percent of the plant species known to be growing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is registered as SGBG on the Index Herbariorum, an international directory of research herbaria. From 2018 to present, 5,000 plant specimens were barcoded, databased and many digitally photographed to be uploaded to an international herbaria database with funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Science Collections Assessment for Conservation Program. An additional 1,000 specimens received from the V. I. Department of Parks and Natural Resources in 2019, were mounted, barcoded, databased and added to the collection by a group of dedicated volunteers. 

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The Museum

Artifacts From 100 A.D.

The St. George Village Museum is housed in a restored building that originally was built to house the enslaved, as are many of the ruins and repurposed buildings found on the Garden’s grounds.

This exhibit chronicles the 2,000 year history of Estate St. George from its first occupants to its development as a contemporary public garden. Here visitors will see a display of artifacts from the early Amerindian settlers that occupied the site from about 100 A.D. to 1,000 A.D.

Also on display are items from the Danish colonial era when the property operated as a sugar cane plantation and processed the cane into sugar, molasses and rum.  

The Museum is open from 9 am to 2:45 pm every day. 

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Botanical Heritage

The Virgin Islands Rare Plant Initiative

The St. George Village Botanical Garden is a proud member of the Virgin Islands Rare Plant Initiative (VIRPI), a collaborative effort on the islands of St. Croix. St. Thomas, and St. John to identify, collect, and propagate threatened or endangered plant species. 

The goal of this important initiative is to preserve and protect our botanical heritage for current and future generations. Through careful digital cataloging of plants and location, we share our ongoing work nationally and internationally with other botanical gardens in order to expand knowledge and collaborative research.   

 

By displaying these native species within our Garden, we raise awareness and educate visitors in the plants’ local and traditional uses for medicine, food, and clothing.   Ultimately, by distributing these plants to residents across the Virgin Islands for their own gardens, we help ensure the preservation and cultivation of our unique botanical legacy.

The Seed Bank

A Seed Bank stores seeds of the US Virgin Islands in refrigeration to preserve genetic diversity; hence it is a type of gene bank.

There are many reasons to store seeds in a seed bank:

  1. To prevent the loss of genetic diversity in rare or endangered plant species in an effort to conserve biodiversity ex situ.

  2. To preserve the genes that plant breeders need to increase yield, disease resistance, drought tolerance, nutritional quality, taste, etc., of crops.

 

Seeds provided by Community Seed Stewards will be preserved in the USVI Seed Bank at the St. George Village Botanical Garden.

If you are interested in being a Community Seed Steward, contact:

Director of Horticulture and Facilities Isidor Ruderfer

isidor.ruderfer@the gardenstcroix.org

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