Desert Legume Program

Seed Storage

Central to our mission is the seed bank which is housed at our headquarters located in the Arizona Crop Improvement Association Building at The University of Arizona Campus Agricultural Center. The seed collection currently includes 1374 identified species representing 1461 taxa of legumes in 223 genera. The largest genera represented in the collection include Acacia (354 species), Astragalus (128 species), Lupinus (45 species), Senna (42 species) and Lotus (32 species). The seed bank has a total of 3686 individual accessions.

These seed originated in 64 countries on six continents. Seed in our seed bank are obtained by direct collection, exchange with other botanical institutions, purchase and donations. The seed collection is stored in a commercial walk-in storage freezer donated to the program by the late Horace P. Miller. Heat-sealable laminated foil envelopes are used for long-term seed storage. “Working collections” are stored in jars or in envelopes stored in sealable tubs. Accession records are maintained on a database.

In 1996, DELEP signed an agreement with USDA-ARS National Seed Storage Laboratory at Fort Collins, Colorado to provide back-up storage. There are now over 1000 DELEP accessions backed up in the National Center for Genetic Resources. Specific information regarding the DELEP accessions can be found at Additionally, over 150 accessions are stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, in the Norwegian Arctic. DELEP was the third U.S. organization to have seeds placed in storage at this facility. 

DELEP distributes samples of seeds, subject to availability, to individuals and organizations in the U.S. and overseas. There is no charge for the seeds. DELEP's Index Seminum includes a listing of seed availability and instructions for requesting seeds. To access the Index Seminum, follow the link on this website. Send email questions and seed requests to , call (520) 647-2503, or write: Desert Legume Program, 2120 E. Allen Road, Tucson, AZ 85719. Seeds may also be requested through the USDA-ARS GRIN website cited above. For international seed requests, please note that due to costs and logistics, we are unable to provide phytosanitary certificates. If a phytosanitary certificate is required by your government, please submit your seed request through the USDA-ARS GRIN website.  

updated August 2018



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