Plant Heritage kicks off show season with call for missing National Plant Collections

Throughout the flower show season Plant Heritage is highlighting ten missing plant groups which currently are not represented within National Plant Collections®. With a strong focus on plants that are important for pollinators, the ‘Missing Genera’ campaign calls upon the public to join the charity in conserving plants and encourages people with a passion for plants to bring together a National Plant Collection of their own.

A spokesman for Butterfly Conservation said: “Butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects depend upon a wide diversity of plant species for food and shelter. At a time when many species of butterflies and moths are in a state of decline any scheme that seeks to protect the UK’s plant heritage is most welcome.”

The Missing Genera campaign was launched at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2016 and has already generated several enquiries from people interested in starting a National Plant Collection, including official proposals for Gingko and Aeonium. A large collection of Forsythia growing at Pershore College, could also potentially be a great source of plant material for anyone interested in starting a Collection and 21 of the rarest cultivars are already registered in the Plant Guardian scheme.

Why Missing Genera matters

The message behind the campaign is to increase the number and diversity of National Plant Collections (there are currently around 630), to conserve the UK and Ireland’s amazing plant diversity. Plant varieties disappear for all kinds of reasons, including:

• environmental changes, eg, climate change,
• pests and diseases,
• fashion,
• and lack of horticultural skills.

The National Plant Collection scheme creates living libraries of plants, tended by gardeners who are passionate about keeping and propagating them for future generations. By seeking out these plants - many no longer commercially available - propagating them, researching their history and properties and making this knowledge publicly available, Collection Holders are custodians of biodiversity.

Missing Genera for 2017

Achillea
Arisaema
Caryopteris
Crataegus
Eryngium
Helianthemum
Lamium
Sisyrinchium
Verbascum
Verbena


CEO Sarah Quarterman said:

"We’re looking forward to reaching out to more people at the RHS Chatsworth and RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows and will have several examples of the missing plant groups on display at both shows. We hope this will inspire show visitors to come and say hello and learn more about our work.”

Find out more at the RHS Chatsworth and Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows

Plant Heritage will be starring in the Connoisseur zone, an area dedicated to plants which are a little bit out of the ordinary, at the first ever RHS Chatsworth show on 7-11 June. No less than 13 Collection Holders will display plants from their 26 National Plant Collections to inspire curiosity in visitors to this specialist area of the show.

At RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the Plant Heritage Zone showcasing National Plant Collections will be at the centre of the Floral Marquee and 21 Collection Holders will be exhibiting throughout the marquee. There are many Collections being exhibited for the first time this year, including displays of Crassula, Allium, Polypodium, Saxifraga and Roscoea. Plus the Australasian Plant Society will be celebrating the Plant Guardian scheme with a display including nine different National Plant Collections and many rare and unusual plants.

Visitors to the shows will have the opportunity to meet the Collection Holders and find out about the conservation work of Plant Heritage. Visitors can also purchase seeds, including some rare and unusual varieties, from our Seed Shop at Hampton Court, which is generously sponsored by Johnsons Seeds.

Image captions (top to bottom): Eryngium x zabelii 'Big Blue', Verbascum 'Clemantine' and Sisyrinchium 'EK.Balls'




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