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International Seed Testing Association
International Seed Testing Association
Richtiarkade 18
8304 Wallisellen, CH
+41 44 838 60 00
International Seed Testing Association

Flower Seed Testing Committee


  • To prepare and publish new method sheets for the ISTA Handbook on Flower Seed Testing, making it increasingly comprehensive, with a goal to clarify laboratory seed knowledge and the seed testing methods listed in Table 5A Part 3 of the ISTA International Rules for Seed Testing.
  • To provide and introduce laboratory seed testing methods for new species which are tested in laboratories, but not yet included in the ISTA Rules.
  • To improve the methods in the ISTA Rules for flower seed sampling and testing.
  • To provide guidelines for the analysis of flower seeds, including those of wild species.
  • To be available as the main source for all stakeholders interested in flower seed testing, and to provide analysts with practical information on this subject by organising workshops.

After extensive work carried out by the Flower Seed Testing Committee (FSC), the first edition of the ISTA Handbook on Flower Seed Testing was published in 2008. A supplement was distributed in 2010 and a new electronic edition was released in 2020. This includes 62 working sheets, each dedicated to one or more flower species belonging to a genus, or two closely related genera. The Handbook is the Committee’s main output, aimed to provide a useful guide for laboratories testing flower seeds. The committee intends to continue the work to include more flower species, as well as herbs, spices and medicinal species.  

Flower species are characterised by their principal use as ornamentals, and by the fast changing trends in the flower seed market. New varieties and hybrids are often created and introduced, and new species can become relevant very quickly. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in wildflower species and the Committee intends to expand its scope to those species.

The ISTA Rules already include specific tables for species of flowers, herbs, spices and medicinal plants, in Chapter 2 (Sampling) and Chapter 5 (Germination). The Rules cover 352 flower species from 192 genera and 55 botanical families, both monocotyledons (5 families with only 6 genera and 7 species) and dicotyledons (50 families with 186 genera and 345 species). However, new species can still be added!
Contact the FSC if you have any new species to propose for these tables.

Flower species are now included in the scope of ISTA Accreditation. In the framework of accreditation, the FSC organises, together with the Proficiency Test Committee, at least one Proficiency Test round in each three-year period. More than 50 ISTA laboratories are now accredited and the FSC is happy to help other laboratories wishing to include flowers in their scope.

The FSC is ready to assist laboratories in testing flower species and will continue their work aimed at improving seed testing methods for this large and beautiful group of species.

How to Become a Member

If you have technical knowledge of Testing Seeds of Flower, Spice, Herb, Medicinal species and are interested in its development, don’t hesitate to keep in contact with us. 

Introduction of new species in the ISTA Rules, validation of seed testing methods, the organization of workshops and other training activities, publication of handbooks are examples of our actual works. 

We welcome new projects aimed to improve technical and scientific knowledge and to respond to the needs of the seed testing laboratories in our field of interest. 

If you are interested, please refer to the following page:  How to become a Technical Committee Member

For any needs, please contact: 
Sarah Dammen


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