Top photo: Chelidonium majus (greater celandine).
Following cultivation manual is the result of a cooperation project named “Networking and knowledge exchange in seed production of medicinal- and aromatic plants (MAP)”. This network included several countries in the Baltic Sea Region and was granted by the Swedish Institute (SI) for two consecutive years (2020 and 2021). The aim was to enhance networking and give the different countries a possibility to learn from each other´s species specific experiences and broaden their knowledge in seed production of MAP. Members from the Nordic countries, Latvia and Poland, both scientists, genebanks and botanical gardens were represented in the project.
No authors, nor any of the project collaborators, are responsible for potentially harmful effects from the use of the medicinal and aromatic plants presented in this manual. Before using a plant medicinally, seek professional guidance.


No authors, nor any of the project collaborators, are responsible for potentially harmful effects from the use of the medicinal and aromatic plants presented in this manual.
NordGen is an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers, dedicated to conservation and sustainable use of plants, farm animals and forest. NordGen’s primary aim is to secure diversity of genetic resources linked to food, agriculture and forestry. The main task for most plant genebanks is to collect seeds, to provide long-term storage and to distribute collected material. In addition, they serve as knowledge centers for plant genetic resources. To manage this, genebanks regularly need to multiply seeds in order to keep the material alive and ensure sufficient number of seeds for distribution. Medicinal and aromatic plants include several species that often are difficult and challenging to germinate and cultivate. The genebanks’ seed collections are therefore often both incomplete and difficult to maintain, and botanical gardens often have only small demonstration plots of medicinal plants.


Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAP) have been of interest and importance to mankind for centuries. Wild native species in the Baltic Sea Region as well as naturalized species from foreign countries have been utilized as traditional medicine. During the 20th century importance of medicinal plants decreased gradually as knowledge to purify the active compounds and synthesize them chemically was gained. Nevertheless, interest for medicinal plants has by no means slowed down. More knowledge about medically active substances is still requested and the search for new compounds in wild material continues.
Large scale cultivation of MAP for production of medicinal components as well as spices has comparatively low impact on the environment as the crops require a low amount of fertilizers and will not contribute to overfertilization. In addition, for most commercial cultivation of MAP no pesticides are approved, which also contributes to making them environmentally friendly crops.

Seed Regeneration of MAP 

WEBBSkelörtskörd.jpgSeed harvest from greater celandine in NordGen's garden.
Many seed samples in medicinal plant collections need to be multiplied because the germination capacity is low and/or the seed amount is limited. Within agricultural production MAP is a niched group of plants and the methods for their cultivation, seed production, and seed testing are very little known or non-existent. The problem is complex and requires international collaboration to solve.
Today total knowledge on seed production of MAP in the Baltic Sea Region is insufficient as it, to a large extent, focuses on specific species different for the different countries. However, each country needs to have knowledge on seed production of a large number of species to be able to efficiently secure their collections, keep a high genetic diversity as well as utilize the material on larger scale. All countries within this project have similar geographic and climatic conditions and it has therefore been possible to develop methods for efficient multiplication for the whole region.
NordBaltMAP3.jpgSeeds of Bryonia cretica ssp. diocia (red bryony).

Manual for Seed Production and Cultivation of MAP

Cultivation of 21 different species of MAP were conducted in Latvia (Salaspils and Jelgava) and Poland (Plewiska) in 2020 and 2021. At NordGen in Alnarp, Sweden, regeneration of accessions of number of various MAP species in the genebank collection are carried out annually. This manual is a result of the experience gained during cultivation of a number of species at all four sites with focus on seed production. The species are mentioned in alphabetical order using the taxonomical names. The cultivation process is illustrated by photos mainly from the Latvian and Polish sites. In the manual tray substrate refers to a substrate with relatively low nutritional value, and the pot substrate has a nutritionally higher value.
Seed harvest of Malva sylvestris (common mallow) in Polis Plewiska. 
Skärmavbild 2022-06-30 kl. 10.40.19.png
Click here to see the video.
The video shows seed harvest at the Polish cultivation site in Plewiska.


It is often very difficult to find information about pollination strategy for MAP species but many of them are with the greatest certainty cross-pollinators. When cultivating several different populations (accessions) within the same species they must be isolated from one another to avoid cross-pollination. Minimum 100 meters is a recommended distance between the populations. An alternative is physical isolation in the form of isolation cages with an insect/pollen proof net or using different greenhouses. When using nets or greenhouses it is important to provide suitable pollinators like bumblebees, bees, flies etc. depending on the preferences of the species.
image23-22.jpgBumblebee on Malva sylvestris (common mallow).
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