Another botanical William Jack

One of the most talented Scottish surgeon-botanists ever to have worked in Asia was the Aberdonian William Jack (1795–1822), who, before succumbing to fever aged only 27, acted…

July 2017 Garden Wildlife Report

July 2017 was another wet month, with >74 mm of rain, more than half of which fell in the final week. However, it was also a sunny month,…

Happy Birthday India: or, the changing names of a Himalayan sumach

How to choose a tree suitable for a High Commissioner of India to plant to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Independence while on a visit to RBGE? Trees,…

Erica cinarea

Welcome to Scotland

The Bell heather Erica cinerea is one of the iconic plants of the Scottish hills. Flowering in time for the Edinburgh Festival season a planting near the east…

Colutea cilicica

A woody legume

A young specimen of Colutea cilicica, native to SW Asia is flowering well in the border behind the new alpine house. An unusual genus to find in cultivation,…

The final briefing for the expedition to Saipal Himal in western Nepal.

Expedition to Saipal Himal, Far West Nepal

There is a palpable air of excitement among team members as we make our final preparations for the expedition to Saipal Himal in western Nepal. Bajura District has…

Last season potatoes

Two interlopers

A consequence of a wet spell and the holiday season has resulted in the lawns not being cut as frequently as usual. Two plants have taken advantage of…

What’s that whiff?

If you smell a nasty whiff in the air at the Botanics over the next few days it’s not the drains. It will either be the flower of…

Helichrysum retortoides and Campanula cochlearifolia

Continental colour combo

There is a winning combination in one of the alpine stone troughs. Here two surface hugging plants from separate continents have combined, growing through each other, their flower…

June 2017 Garden Wildlife Report

In contrast to the very dry spring (March to May), June 2017 was officially the wettest-ever June recorded at the Botanics, with over 180 mm (7.11 inches) of…

Dierama pendulum

Two South African plants

Both of these plants were collected in Lesotho at the southern end of the Drakensberg Mountains, growing in grassland. Both appreciate an open sun drenched position with good…

Edward Bulkley and the Du Bois Herbarium

In the lead-up (or is it a wind-down?) to retirement I must clear my office, including four herbarium cabinets full of specimens laid aside from time to time…

Rhododendron serotinum

Planted in the uppermost section of the Chinese hillside this evergreen Rhododendron bears multiple trusses of shocking white flowers. Considering the exposed situation it has established well, and…

Remembering Sami food ambassador Greta Huuva

Listeners to Radio 4’s Food Programme will have head the fascinating account of the Hadza, East Africa’s last group of hunter gatherers with a diet of 95% wild…

DNA Sequencing Natural History Specimens Using New Sequencing Platforms and Protocols: a 1-day meeting at RBGE 11/07/2017

Rapid developments in high-throughput sequencing platforms are providing a step change in the recoverability of DNA sequence data from natural history collections. Short-read massively parallel sequencers are intrinsically…

My 6th Global Botanic Gardens Congress

I only managed one day at the 6GBGC last week but it was a day crammed full of ideas and inspiration from the keynote on Plant Dignity in…

Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania – Signatory to the Declaration of Independence

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has had its hand in shaping the careers and fortunes of many in our long history.  We’ve trained countless horticulturalists, botanists, taxonomists and…

Prunella vulgaris

A weed is a plant in the wrong place

Having weeded out many specimens of Prunella vulgaris over the years it is of interest to see a mass planting of this herb, native to Europe and Central…

Free Course: How Plants Fight Back!

Ever wondered how plants have evolved to defend themselves? If you were a plant how would you stop something eating you? Poison? Spines? Pretending to be something else? …

Testing extractions – comparing DNA on agarose gels

Looking at the capture plates from the two DNA extraction protocols that were tested on our QIAcube, it was fairly obvious that a lot more plant fragments and…