The sharing of plants between botanic gardens has long been an essential tool in the cultivation and display of the world’s rare and threatened flora. The plants generously donated by the RBGE team will form an important part of the tropical montane display house at Glasnevin and will help us promote the significance of ex-situ collections as an important tool in plant conservation. Many thanks to all the helpful folks at RBGE.  

Dr Darach Lupton, Curator.
National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Glasnevin.
Two horticulturists place a begonia plant cutting into a plastic bag for later planting.
Research Collections Manager Sadie Barber and Horticulturist Marco Garavaglia take cuttings of Begonia foilosa. (Photo: Kevin Bannon)

In 2022, RBGE’s largest collection of begonias moved the short distance from the main garden’s Research Glasshouses to the garden’s Nursery Glasshouses as part of the Edinburgh Biomes Project. The collection holds various wild collected, IUCN endangered, and near threatened plants such as Begonia acerifolia native to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Recently, as part of a sharing of plants with The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland at Glasnevin, propagation material of twenty-three genetically unique Begonia species such as Begonia foliosa, B. peruviana and B. pedemontana were chosen. Exchanges like this expand the collective foothold in the fight against the growing threat to these plants in the wild and in ex-situ conservation.

The interior of a glasshouse full of plants.
A view of the collection of over 650 plants in the glasshouse. Plant propagation is also done in this space, and a number of these plants are used for projects carried out by RBGE PhD students.
(Photo: Kevin Bannon)
A split image showing a begonia plant cutting being prepared and placed into a plastic bag.
A cutting of Begonia bracteosa being inspected and reduced further. The cutting is then placed into a plastic bag to prevent drying out. Record keeping and the cleanliness of the cuttings is essential, each bag of cuttings is given two labels, one plastic label inside and another on the bag itself.  Further inspections will take place with plant passports provided before leaving the garden.
(Photos: Kevin Bannon)
A close up photo of the white flower of Begonia peruviana
The flower of Begonia peruviana in 2021, among other species collected in Peru in 2014 by Dr Peter Moonlight a former RBGE researcher now assistant professor of Botany at Trinity College Dublin. (Photo: Marco Garavaglia)

A selection of Ferns.

Along with Begonia cuttings, 34 ferns of different genera and species of varying maturity were shared. Young plants of Cyathea australis and Thyrsopteris elegans from the Research Collections were all grown from spore, including more larger and more established Dicksonia arborescens and Dicksonia berteroana.

Interior photo of a potting shed with various ferns in pots.
The group of ferns await inspection in the Glasshouse potting shed.
(Photo: Kevin Bannon)

Illustrative world map of the location of small islands in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
A map showing the remote South Atlantic location of St. Helena Island where Dicksonia arborescens, also known as the Saint Helena tree fern is endemic. This tree fern is the type species for the Dicksonia genus first described in 1789, and is also closely linked to Dicksonia berteroana, a species of tree fern endemic to the Juan Fernandez Islands off coast of Chile in the Pacific. (Illustration: Kevin Bannon)
A Horticulturist waters a small fern in a pot.
Senior Horticulturist Andrew Ensoll; the grower of many of these ferns, gives the younger ferns such as Cibotium schiedei and Dicksonia squarrosa a final watering before they leave the garden.
(Photo: Kevin Bannon)
Glasshouse interior of a large collection of ferns.
Part of RBGES’s extensive fern collection; most of these plants were lifted and potted from the previously public Fossil and Fern Public Display Glasshouse, decanted last year, and still being faithfully cared for by Horticulturist Kate Miller. (Photo: Kevin Bannon)
Two horticulturists load a vehicle with some potted plants.
Horticulturist Kate Miller and Senior Horticulturist Andy Ensoll organise the ferns for the journey ahead.
Note: In the background the Victorian Palm Houses surrounded with scaffolding and a protective covering for the on-going restoration process. (Photo: Kevin Bannon)
Illustrative map of Ireland and the UK.
The plants and cuttings were collected by Dr. Darach Lupton, Curator of The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. The map above shows the 7-hour journey from RBGE in Edinburgh to Glasnevin in Dublin.
(Illustration: Kevin Bannon)
Interior of glasshouse and large potted ferns.
Photos courtesy of @NBGGlasnevinOPW showing Dicksonia arborescens and Cyathea robusta safely arrived in their new glasshouse in Glasnevin.
(Photo: NBG Ireland @NBGGlasnevinOPW)
Interior of glasshouse and large potted ferns.
The full view of the various fern genera at their new home in Dublin. (Photo: NBG Ireland @NBGGlasnevinOPW)

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have an historic partnership, almost going back to the foundation of the gardens in Dublin, and developing through the changing culture of exchanging plants. Almost 200 years later, the sharing of plants continues, symbolising a commitment to understanding the plant world whether with other gardens internationally or our closest neighbours.

Edinburgh Biomes Project and Royal Botanic Gardens logos.