Where Seeds Fall

Promoting and Interconnecting Plant Biodiversity in Cities



The project "Where seeds fall" addresses the question of whether the wildflower populations in the city of Zurich can survive in the long term and whether gene flow occurs between the different populations.


The aim of the project is to show the public that the city air is filled with plant seeds which very quickly repopulate every free piece of ground. Nature in the city is dynamic and resistant.


We will distribute plant trays to volunteers which they fill with sterilized soil and then place somewhere in the city - in a garden, on a forecourt, in a school, on a balcony, or on a roof terrace. Then all they have to do is wait and see which plant seeds populate the open soil, sprout and begin to grow.

Photos of plants growing spontaneously on their own experimental surface can be uploaded to a spatially explicit online platform. There they can compare their own spontaneous garden with that of their neighbor or of someone at the other end of the city of Zurich. Are the same plants colonizing their neighbor's garden? Is the seed rain more interesting and varied near the outskirts of the city or beside a flowery meadow than in the middle of the city?


Project members:

  • Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Kueffer – PI, Professor of Urban Ecology, Landscape Architecture, HSR Rapperswil & Institute of Integrative Biology, Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich.
  • Kevin Vega, Ph.D. student, ETH Zurich & HSR Rapperswil
  • Dr. Juanita Schläpfer-Miller – Citizen Science Project Coordinator
  • Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center


Graphic artist:

Tanja Hess