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…

Describing your DNA

One of the amazing things about the polymerase chain reaction, PCR, is how little starting DNA is needed, with an exponential increase in the number of copies of…

Letting the robot do its job

Having got together two plates of tubes with little bits of plant and lichen tissue in them, and pulverised them with tungsten beads in a TissueLyser for a…

Jasminum beesianum

Red Jasmine

A climbing plant with plentiful tubular red flowers, Jasminum beesianum makes the usual mass of tangled growth expected of these plants with loose scandent  growth. Some twisting action…

What’s the story when there’s no variation?

Enigmatic and isolated although it is, it seems that our Australian colleagues have now “got their eye in” for complex thalloid liverwort Monocarpus sphaerocarpus – after many years…

Food Forever

Each year, for the past four years, leaders from industry, government, the third sector and research have gathered in Stockholm for the EAT Forum to look at global…

Prostanthera cuneata

Pure white petals

This group of Prostranthera cuneate took a battering from our wet and cold conditions during the winter of 2015/16. Much defoliation took place, yet this southern hemisphere native…

Cornus capitata – FED 331– a botanical phoenix

In previous Botanics Stories I have written about the joys of Herbarium Angling, but fusty old botanists do occasionally emerge into the glare of daylight and take a…

Flora of Nepal Trail: Introduction

Enjoyed the Flora of Nepal exhibition? Now discover some of the best of our living collection … Many of the plants commonly grown in UK gardens originally came…

Maianthemum likiangense

A woodland treasure

Maianthemum likiangense, a valuable and choice addition to the woodland garden flora. Collected in Yunnan Province where it was growing amongst Quercus scrub at 3700m. A tall member…