Latest science blog posts from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Jan 202017
In grateful thanks: the rediscovery of some long-lost Acadian specimens of Archibald Menzies

Surely one of the most moving thanks ever penned for an act of botanical patronage was that written by Archibald Menzies from his surgeon’s post on HMS Assistance, from Halifax, Nova Scotia (known to the French as Acadia) on 30 May 1784. It was directed to John Hope who had recognised the talents of a […]

Jan 122017
Protecting Scottish trees and herbs for the future at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank

This year RBGE staff and volunteers have collected seeds from 14 trees and 29 conservation priority herbs, to help deliver Scottish species into the UK National Tree Seed Project and the UK Flora Project. Both projects aim to protect British plants and are coordinated across the UK nations by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew’s Millennium […]

Dec 162016
Botanical gold: frankincense and myrrh

Frankincense and myrrh have an almost mystical place in our psyche at this time of year and both can be best be descibed, if unflatteringly, as non-timber forest products. While frankincense and myrrh are strongly associated with the story of Jesus both have long been revered from Ancient Greece and Egypt, used in the Jewish, […]

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 302016
Update: North Sulawesi Fieldwork, continued...

Following the recent fieldwork update from Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, this report comes from the Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, part of complex of volcanoes in the Bolaang Mongondow and East Bolaang Mongondow regencies of North Sulawesi. The nature reserve, named after one of the active volcanoes within, comprises an area of approximately 8,600 hectares. […]

Nov 292016
The Cloud Lottery

I’ve been looking at producing a good quality Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset for central Scotland so that I can investigate correlation between green space, biodiversity and well-being indicators. To do this I need access to satellite imagery. Fortunately every sixteen days the Landsat 8 satellite passes over every part of the earth photographing […]

Nov 282016
Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy

The two day symposium on the 13th & 14th of May 2017 at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is organised by the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE) in conjunction with the Centre for Middle Easten Plants (CMEP). Contributions are welcome from a wide range of disciplines and interests. […]

Nov 222016
Long's Marchantia

Formerly the head of our Cryptogam section, and currently an extremely active RBGE Research Associate, David Long is well known and respected for his botanical work in the Himalayas, and for his bryological research. He has collected a huge number of taxonomically and phylogenetically interesting bryophytes on numerous plant collecting expeditions, collaborating with researchers around […]