A professional society dedicated to fostering and promoting research, education, and communication in the scientific understanding of seeds.

Important notice regarding the Seed Information Database

A recent assessment of the Seed Information Database (SID) for compliance with UK legislation on website accessibility (Public Sector Bodies [Websites and Mobile Applications] Accessibility Regulations 2018; themselves aligned with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at the AA standard) found the web interface deficient in several respects. Regrettably, due to RBG Kew’s need to prioritise its limited resources, we will be unable to remedy the faults; and the SID web interface will be taken down at the end of this financial year (March 2022).

However, we will continue to update SID’s data content internally; and this will continue to be available to external users as flat files from RBG Kew’s FTP site.

Please also note that for many years we have shared much of SID’s seed functional trait data via the TRY Plant Trait Database, which facilitates bulk data downloads; and we intend to continue periodic updates of that content.

In future, as far as possible, we plan to deliver species’ seed trait information via Kew’s ‘Plants of the World Online’ portal; which should be convenient for users browsing or searching for data on individual species. Moreover, Kew’s current Science Strategy sets out (p27) an ambition to collaboratively deliver a ‘Global Seed Information Facility’ on seed traits by 2025.

John Dickie, RBG Kew

December 2021.


  1. Debbie Gillies says:

    Rediculous that because some may not be able to use it that none can.

  2. Goodmorning,

    I’m sorry to hear that Kew intends to take down the SID web interface as we consider the SID an important source to obtain information about germination & regeneration of a variety of wild species that we started to work on. We would very much appreciate if somehow this service would remain available to users.

    Rob van Treuren
    Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands

  3. Dave Wood says:

    The Kew SID was an essential resource in our review of domestication of the first cereals [http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.0277]. SID shows – contrary to what is often taught – that existing large seed in a low percentage (less that 1%) of wild grasses was a key factor as to just what would become domesticated. Even in some cases the seed in the wild relative was larger than in the subsequent domesticate.

  4. John Dickie says:

    Thanks to ISSS members and others for the many emails and offers of concrete support we’ve received, to keep SID up and running. However, as well as the accessibility compliance issues, SID’s current underlying software is old and subject to multiple vulnerabilities. The only viable option is a complete rebuild, which will take time and resources. However, we are striving to mitigate the impact this will have on SID’s wide user base. In my notice above I outlined the options open via TRY, POWO and Kew’s ftp site. Importantly, right now we are in active discussions with several potential partners, about ways in which we can both bring the projected Global Seed Information Facility (GSIF) to fruition in the medium term and avoid loss of SID in the short term, by alternative hosting, for example.

  5. Mariusz Klinikowski says:

    If you’re going to discontinue the site, can I ask for copy of the code? I am Python developer and maybe i can rewrite site to Python with Django, so later we will be able to address the stated issues?

  6. Juan Camilo Giraldo Moreno says:

    I am currently doing my master’s thesis and the SID information is vital in my research, just today I realized that the page no longer works. I don’t know if someone has the SID information or is already on some other platform. I really appreciate any help you can give me.

  7. jean Marc Fourvel says:

    La sortie de l’Angleterre de l’Europe ne serait-elle pas la raison de se changement ???
    Nous utilisons votre base de données sur les semences plusieurs fois par jour. C’est une ressource importante pour le fonctionnement de nos recherches d’information et d’analyse. Nous craignons d’être obligé de stopper nos travaux et surtout d’avoir un résultat bancale et de mettre à la poubelle des milliers d’heure de consultation Nous serions très reconnaissant de trouver une solution afin de sauver votre travail et de le rendre disponible l’intégralité des information.
    A quoi bon travailler des années et des années si tout s’arrête sans avoir trouver une solution alternative !!! Après vous avoir demandé de poursuivre votre travail et de faire vivre votre base de donnée, nous en sommes réduit à vouloir sauver votre travail et à affirmer fortement vouloir le maintient de futurs travaux et des mises à jour par les fabuleuses équipes de RBG de Kew.
    Merci pour tous vos travaux, nous espérons avoir de vos nouvelles par courriel pour de pas rater les solutions alternatives que vous aurait adoptées.

    Jean Marc Fourvel fondateur du Jardin botanique d’Auvergne

  8. jean Marc Fourvel says:

    Wouldn’t England’s exit from Europe be the reason for this change???
    We use your seed database several times a day. It is an important resource for the functioning of our information research and analysis. We are afraid of being forced to stop our work and above all of having a shaky result and putting thousands of hours of consultation in the trash. We would be very grateful to find a solution in order to save your work and make it available l completeness of information.
    What’s the point of working for years and years if everything stops without having found an alternative solution!!! After asking you to continue your work and keep your database alive, we are reduced to wanting to save your work and strongly affirming that we want to maintain it for future work and updates by the fabulous RBG teams at Kew.
    Thank you for all your work, we hope to hear from you by email so that we don’t miss the alternative solutions you may have adopted.

    Jean Marc Fourvel founder of the Botanical Garden of Auvergne

  9. John Dickie says:

    RBG Kew has arranged a one-month ‘stay of execution’ for SID on its own website, while arrangements are completed for alternative online hosting of the database; and it will now cease to operate from Kew’s website from May 1st.

  10. Jojanneke Bijkerk says:

    At the moment SID shows a notice about things happening, but already it is now impossible to access the database. We should be able to access it until May? Did something go wrong??
    We would also be very happy to receive a copy of the data. Please let us know how to organise this. Many thanks.

  11. Conrad Richter says:

    Besides its obvious benefits to public sector entities, it should be noted that the database is of great value to commercial entities as well. I have referred to it numerous times in my research for a small Canadian seed company.

  12. Olly Marshall says:

    Come on Kew, get round a table and work this out!

    This database is a fantastic resource, used the world over for many important applications – as such it has considerable value both financial and educational.

    So why not find a corporate sponsor for the site and arrange for a complete rebuild? High quality companies would be queuing up to out their names to this!

  13. Conrad Richter says:

    Is the SID database available on the ftp site? I did not find it there.

  14. The SID interface is still working for me in France.
    I look up seed counts and storage information most days.

  15. I couldn’t find the “flat files from RBG Kew’s FTP site” either, maybe they are not available yet?

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