Category: SciencePage 1 of 23

Latest science blog posts from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Join us on the first in a series of virtual expeditions of Britain and Ireland

The collections from Britain and Ireland held within the RBGE Herbarium are estimated to number over 500,000 specimens of cryptogams (algae, fungi, lichens and mosses), ferns, gymnosperms and…

RBGE 1970-2020

Rediscovering a fifty-year old article prompted us to explore RBGE’s last half-century at the forefront of science, conservation, horticulture and learning. 2020 will inevitably go down in history…

Fungi-inspired fabrics

Anna Stoane is a Multidisciplinary Textiles Designer who recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. Anna’s graduate collection The Hidden Kingdom was inspired by ten species of fungi…

Lady Gwillim’s ‘Madras’ Magnolia

Henry J. Noltie In 1805 the German botanical missionary the Rev Dr Johann Peter Rottler (1749–1836) intended to name a monospecific genus for Elizabeth, Lady Gwillim (1763–1807), wife…

Two little-known temporary Superintendents of the Calcutta Botanic Garden: George Swinton and James William Grant

In a book chapter on Indian sculpture in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland (NMS), I recently came across the names of two collectors (and indirect…

Climate change threatens the survival of one of Scotland’s most biodiverse marine habitats

Maerl beds are one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats – but most people haven’t even heard of them! Maerl, a free-living red seaweed with a hard calcium…

Closing the Loop

In March 2020, RBGE was due to host ‘Closing the Loop’ in partnership with Applied Arts Scotland – a workshop for makers exploring environmentally sustainable approaches to materials and making, to complement the Think Plastic exhibition in the John Hope Gateway. However, the temporary closure of the Garden, due to COVID-19, shifted this workshop into the virtual realm. The title of this discursive workshop ‘Closing the Loop’ drew on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s concept of circular economies, as described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Monitoring the Health of the World’s Forgotten Forests

More than half of the tropics are too dry to support moist forest and are instead home to dry forest and savanna. Today RBGE has led the publication of a new protocol for permanent forest plots in dry forests.

The (Western) discoverer of the rouloul bird: Dr James Badenach of Whiteriggs (1744–1797)

H.J. Noltie Introduction While researching the life of John Hope a decade ago I went through the RBGE copies of his personal papers that have fortunately survived in…

Using Herbarium Specimens to Understand Patterns of Plant Diversity

The oldest specimens in the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was collected in 1697, a little over 320 years ago. It was collected by Alexander Brown…

Finding new species on social media

Most people’s idea of discovering a new plant species for science is a botanist rounding a corner in a remote part of the world and spotting an unusual…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Diana Wilkinson I’m Diana, a former civil servant who worked as a social scientist in the Scottish Government, finally retiring…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Laura Gunstensen – Library Volunteer The ‘Botanics’ have always been a very special place for me since I arrived, fresh…

A Calcutta botanical drawing of Hamiltonia suaveolens with an interesting provenance

Henry Noltie Some years ago, as part of the barter economy, I acquired a handsome, but all but empty, early nineteenth-century album, its calf spine lettered in gilt…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Helen Bennett A period of secondment from Scottish Arts Council in 2006 confirmed my ambition to volunteer with Royal Botanic…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Jane Gardner My name is Jane Gardner and I am retired.  I have lived in Edinburgh for nearly six years…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Brenda White – A Photography Volunteer Long ago, when the world was simple, and taking photos involved no more effort…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Simon Muirhead – Trawling through the Archive For some years I have been a member of EDFAS [Edinburgh Decorative and…

A Lockdown Flora of Melville Street, Edinburgh: Chloris Via-Melvilliana

Henry Noltie Introduction In 1823 Robert Brown published an account of the plants collected on Melville Island in the Canadian Arctic during the first voyage (1819–20) commanded by…

The Other Library, Archives & Photography Team

A series of posts from our volunteers … Peter Middleton I’m a retired journalist, cum corporate communications director. Ok, so I was a sort-of spin doctor working for…