Latest science blog posts from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Jan 232015
The Tjipetir mystery and plant taxonomy

Peter Wilkie, intrepid Sapotaceae botanist, has been blowing the trumpet for plant taxonomy in an article entitled What’s in a name? A mass of analysis in The Scotsman news paper. The article compares the Tjipetir Mystery, in which rubber blocks stamped with the word “Tjipetir” have been washing ashore on the Atlantic coast with the […]

Dec 102014
Two long-lost Scottish mosses re-discovered

Bryologists at RBGE are actively engaged in recording bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) in Scotland, and 2014 turned out to be an eventful year, when we made two exciting and unexpected discoveries in the Perthshire Highlands and Scottish Borders. Both of these were made on field meetings run by the British Bryological Society (BBS), the […]

Nov 272014
Special trees in Bhutan 2014

The International Dendrology Society is an organisation for tree enthusiasts from around the world, most of whom grow trees in their gardens and arboreta, and many join the tours which are regularly run to many parts of the world, where trees feature strongly in the native flora, particularly those hardy in western gardens. IDS had […]

Nov 272014
Leucoagaricus croceovelutinus- a new fungi record for the Botanics

Leucoagaricus croceovelutinus, also known as the Blushing Dapperling, is rare saprobic fungus found on decaying leaf litter, often with conifers . This particular collection was made under mature Chamaecyparis lawsoniana trees within the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. This is a first Scottish record for the fungus- which is also rare elsewhere in Britain. Leucoagaricus mushrooms […]

Oct 282014
Online Resources for Taxonomic Research

Names and Nomenclature When tracking down published scientific names, and their places of publication, IPNI, The Plant List and Tropicos are the three primary websites. The other listed sites are useful for interpreting abbreviations and following up on nomenclatural matters. International Plant Names Index (IPNI), includes Index Kewensis, the Gray Card Index (Harvard University), and […]

Oct 212014
BioBlitz finds hummingbirds at Logan

Well alright not real hummingbirds. The closest thing we have in Britain is the equally spectacular humming-bird hawk-moth. This extraordinary day-flying moth put in an appearance in the middle of the recent BioBlitz at Logan and confirmed the moths as a real highlight of the event. A BioBlitz aims to record as many species in […]

Oct 142014
Wild Rice in Isleworth, 1790

Looking into the cabinets of the RBGE herbarium never fails to turn up a surprise. Today I was looking for specimens that might have come from the almost entirely destroyed collection of John Hope, our great Enlightenment Regius Keeper. I went to see if there were any specimens of wild rice (Zizania palustris), a North […]

Oct 092014
New plant for Midlothian found in Botanics

Discovery of a plant previously unknown in an area is not what you might expect to happen within a botanic garden. Such places have large managed collections of introduced plants that grow alongside relatively few wild plants. Wild plants in this context are often small and may be tolerated, like mosses and their relations, or […]