Special plants from Katanga
The copper belt of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo consists of hills with extremely high concentrations of copper in the soil. For most plants this metal is toxic, but some 600 species have adapted to the copper-rich soil. Thirty-two of these species are unique to this location and are not found anywhere else in the world.
This flora, which is threatened by mining activities, is a valuable resource for vegetation restoration programmes, for stabilising soils contaminated with heavy metals, and for their remediation.
The Botanic Garden's seed bank is the only one in the world that preserves 65 species (966 accessions) of the Katangese copper flora to international standards, so that this unique flora remains available for future generations.