Plant Heritage publishes first A-Z list of threatened cultivars in UK

Plant Heritage has published an A-Z list of 11, 243 threatened cultivars which have been grown in the UK Ireland. This is the first time ever that a definitive record of threatened cultivars has been established, which has worryingly found that over two-thirds of cultivars are rare enough to be deemed threatened.
This is a fantastic milestone for the charity, which launched its Threatened Plants Project in 2009, given that although wild plants had been officially conserved for over four decades, there was no record for cultivated plants at all.
This list will now act as a valuable tool for the project in order to work with experts to establish which of the registered threatened plants are of value and need to be conserved. Speaking on the launch of this list, Plant Heritage Conservation Officer Mercy Morris said that it will not be possible to conserve all the plants listed but the charity would now be able to establish which plants should be saved, and conservation plans put in place. “Not only will we be able to highlight to Head Gardeners and estate managers which plants they hold are valuable and need conserving but will also indicate where new National Plant Collections are needed, and what plants we can put into our Plant Guardian scheme,” she said.
Plant Heritage has compiled the information using plant records held by 819 public gardens including National Plant Collections®, RHS Gardens, National and University Botanic Gardens, National Trust, The National Trust for Scotland, The National Trust for Northern Ireland, English Heritage, the National Arboreta, the Eden Project, County Councils and our own Plant Guardian Scheme.
Cultivars have been vanishing from gardens in the UK for many years due to a number of factors including difficulty in propagation, loss of horticultural skills, pests and diseases, loss of habitat and gardens, climate change, severe weather and changing fashions. These threatened plants are at risk of disappearing forever.
The charity is hugely grateful to Johnsons Seeds for its current sponsorship of the Threatened Plants Project. Speaking on its support Johnsons Marketing Manager, Helen Clayton said: “We are delighted to be supporting Plant Heritage with its ground-breaking research. Through this vital research we hope that many endangered plants will be found and saved for future generations to enjoy.”
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