Latest science blog posts from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Jun 252014
19th Century Recycling

I’ve said this before but sometimes you find amazing things when raking through the herbarium cabinets. I first came across this specimen when I was part of the digitisation team specifically working on Himalayan Type specimens. Although this is not a Type specimen, they are first records of these plant species from Bhutan and it [...]

Jun 232014
Tea (Camellia sinensis) at the RBGE

Everyone loves a good cup of tea – as evidenced from our Assam tea bush in the Temperate Glasshouse at Edinburgh. As well as living plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh we have, lurking in herbarium cabinets, some amazing historic Tea specimens. James McNabs’s teaching specimens. These two specimens would have been used to [...]

Jun 232014
Biodiversity implications of potentially cryptic species: Using the simple thalloid liverwort Aneura as a model

We are hosting a small two-day workshop at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh on the 11th-12th September 2014 to discuss issues around morphologically cryptic species, whether we can gather meaningful ecological data for them, and how to deal with issues of cryptic plant rarity. RBGE holds a large molecular data set for Aneura, comprising recognized [...]

Jun 122014
The Anderson Brothers of Calcutta

While looking for monuments to people with Indian connections in the Dean Cemetery recently, I was intrigued to see the letters ‘FLS’ emerging from the fringes of an ugly golden cypress that had grown across, and almost entirely obscured, a grave. It turned out to be appended to the name Thomas Anderson (1832-1870), well known [...]

Jun 092014
Sir George Watt (1851-1930)

Born on the 24th of April 1851 in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He was educated at the Grammar School, King’s College and Marischal College, Aberdeen, and later attended both the University of Aberdeen and the University of Glasgow, eventually graduating as a Doctor of Medicine. After graduating he took the teaching role of prodissector to [...]

Jun 032014
New Maltese Fern

Stephen Mifsud, botanist and former MSc student at the Garden, has discovered a new fern on the island of Malta. The fern is a new subspecies of Polypodium vulgare called melitense in recognition of its discovery on Malta. The widespread form of this fern, generally called common polypody, is found throughout Europe extending into the [...]

May 022014
Really Wild Veg - 2014 growing trials

Building on the success of the Really Wild Veg trials last year we will be doing further growing trials this year. Last year we grew beet, radish and cabbage varieties, including both modern F1 hybrid and heritage varieties, alongside their wild relatives to assess differences in yield, taste, nutritional content and pest/disease incidence. The trial [...]

Apr 172014
More on the importance of bryophytes

As a follow-on to my post about why bryophytes are important is this thoughtful piece by Dr Janice Glime, author of the comprehensive and freely downloadable book Bryophyte Ecology: In some ecosystems, bryophytes are much more important than in others, but in most systems they are important in many ways.  They house a wide range [...]

Apr 152014
Why bryophytes matter

As someone who has used taxpayers’ money to fund research on bryophytes (the collective term for mosses, liverworts and hornworts), ‘But why do bryophytes actually matter?’ is one of those questions you start to dread. Admittedly it’s not one everyone asks, presumably as many people haven’t realised that there IS a collective term for mosses, [...]