Plant Heritage reveals cultivated plants in the UK at risk of extinction

During the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24 – 28 May), Plant Heritage has released a new list of sought after plants. The charity is now calling upon the public to search their gardens and upload details of new sightings in a bid to raise awareness of the need for cultivated plant conservation.

These cultivated plants are examples of the plant breeding heritage of our nation, and many are believed to be on the cusp of extinction. Plant Heritage compiled the list, in consultation with its nationwide network of dedicated horticulturalists, plantsmen, and collectors. Amoung the plants included are Crocus chrysanthus ‘E.A. Bowles’, named after the legendary British plant hunter and horticulturalist; several highly-regarded Scottish-bred lilies; and the Fuchsia ‘Duke of Albany’, dedicated to the remarkable Prince Leopold, youngest son of Queen Victoria, who died tragically young.

Furniture Village, the UK’s largest independent retailer of its type, is delighted to be supporting this initiative and will host details about selected plants, as well as guidance on what members of the public should do if they spot one of the endangered plants, on a dedicated page at www.furniturevillage.co.uk

All discoveries, once verified by Plant Heritage, will contribute to the preservation and understanding of some of Britain’s most treasured cultivated plants.

  Twelve highlighted plants are:

Crocus chrysanthus ‘E.A. Bowles’. Named after legendary plantsman Edward Augustus Bowles, this golden crocus variety has seemingly disappeared from cultivation, much to the dismay of those who cherish the memory of the great horticulturalist. The last recorded possession of ‘E.A. Bowles’ was in 1984, but the plant has since disappeared from the trade, and apparently from gardens too.

Four varieties of Mylnefield Lily: ‘Adonis’, ‘Invergowrie’, ‘Eureka’, ‘Pandora’ (pictured). Mylnefield Lilies were bred in the mid-20th century by Scottish plantsman Christopher North, head of the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute, and are a renowned part of Scottish horticultural heritage. Four different Mylnefields Lilies are feared to be lost from cultivation.

Cedric Morris Iris. Cedric Morris, an artist and horticulturalist, bred and named 90 irises in the mid-20th century. Less than half are known to survive within National Plant Collections® and some may still grow in gardens around the country. Three in particular are sought: 'Benton Rubeo', 'Benton Oberon', and 'Benton Ophelia'.

Four varieties of Fuchsia; Fuchsia ‘Duke of Albany’, ‘James Welch’, ‘Mr Hooper Taylor’ (pictured right), ‘Mrs Hooper Taylor’. All four of these Fuchsia cultivars have been lost from cultivation for a long time – some for many decades.

Sarah Quarterman, Plant Heritage’s CEO, comments: “We are grateful to Furniture Village for their support in publicising our campaign to find examples of endangered garden plants which represent the plant breeding heritage of the UK and Ireland. Plant Heritage seeks to conserve the diversity of our cultivated plants and through this campaign we hope to raise awareness of the need for cultivated plant conservation with the gardeners of Britain. Once a plant is gone, sadly it is gone forever.”

Charlie Harrison, Furniture Village’s Director of Marketing, comments: “With the present growing concern, both nationally and worldwide, over environmental and ecological loss, this initiative is particularly significant. Plant Heritage is the pre-eminent charity in the conservation of British cultivated flora, and we at Furniture Village are proud to be working with them to bring to the public’s attention these flowers, which are not only part of our joint national heritage, but bring joy and pleasure to Britons everywhere. If we don’t find these flowers now, they might be lost to us forever.” 

To report a sighting of a plant on the list, or for more information about the plants,
please contact: Collections@plantheritage.org.uk



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