Point of Interest

Places of interest around the Gardens

Mar 032017
In memory of Private Thomas Aird (1878-1917) and Private Thomas Young

When war began in August 1914, whilst most of RBGE’s male staff were joining the Royal Scots and the Cameron Highlanders, two of our staff members enlisted in the Black Watch. Based in Perth, and with origins that can be traced back as far as 1725, the Black Watch had the reputation of producing particularly […]

Feb 272017
John Richard Ferisy; “old soldier he”

In researching those past members of RBGE staff who enlisted and were killed during the First World War I’m aware of all those who enlisted and survived the war, having served their time in the trenches – those that never received a mention on any war memorial but tolerated many of the same experiences including […]

Dec 122016
William Brand WS - First Treasurer of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh

The Library at the Botanics has recently acquired a new member of staff – or should that be an old member of staff?  Certainly an old member of the Botanical Society of Scotland… We were contacted recently by the curator at the Bank of Scotland, looking to rehouse some of their less well used artworks […]

Dec 022016
DNA identification of Long's Long's Marchantia

Many new species are already included in natural history collections around the world, it’s just that nobody has yet got around to examining the material, recognising that it represents something novel, and publishing a name for it. Sometimes these new species are filed under the epithet of a similar named species, sometimes they’re just filed under the genus name […]

Nov 282016
Elephants foot yam ( Arid house)

  Elephant’s foot yam Family: Dioscoreaceae Description Elephant’s foot yam is a spectacular shrubby climber, which grows up to 1.5m high. It has a huge tuber reaching a diameter of up to 75cm, which is mainly exposed above ground. The epidermis (skin) of the tuber is greyish-brown and hard, with numerous small plates of thick […]

Nov 162016
Telaranea murphyae: The non-native endemic that wasn't

Murphy’s threadwort (Telaranea murphyae) has had a singular position in the British flora. The species was described by renowned bryologist Jean Paton in 1965, from plants collected in the south of England. It’s a tiny leafy liverwort that is found in only four locations, at Tresco and St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly, Branksome […]

Nov 142016
Solandra grandiflora ( Chalice flower) temperate walkway in glasshouses

Chalice Flower Solandra grandiflora  Family:Solanaceae  Description: This perennial liana (climbing vine) grows rapidly, reaching up to 30 metres in its natural setting. It climbs up into forest trees using the strength of the trees’ branch framework as support. The large, creamy-yellow chalice-shaped flowers are highly scented, though short lived. The shape of the flower amplifies […]

Oct 122016
Final Weeks of I still believe in miracles.

“Imagine the Venice Biennale co-curated by Henri Matisse and Robert Rauschenberg in a neo-Palladian villa and you have an idea of the improbable loveliness of I Still Believe in Miracles, this summer’s exhibition at Inverleith House in Edinburgh.” Financial Times Discussion-led Tours | 2 – 3pm | Saturday 15 & 22 October | Free Join […]

Oct 072016
Sun prints on leaves

The few fine days which we had during August revealed an interesting trick in one of the plants in the temperate greenhouse. David Tricker, one of our greenhouse keepers, noticed that in bright sunlight shadows on Begonia grandis were semi-permanent. Rachel Brewer printed the RBGE logo onto acetate for me, and after a 2 week […]

Sep 272016
Medicinal Properties of Trees

Evidence from Egyptian pharaonic pharmacology papyri, shows that medicines made from white willow and other salicylate-rich plants, were used as early as the second millennium BC. Aspirin use is now an everyday worldwide occurrence. Some 50,000 plant species are used medicinally and global trade exceeds £45bn/year. Trees play a major role in this industry, with […]