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April 27, 2018

Latest:

The last 10 gardens to win ‘Best in Show’ at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show -

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Children help promote flower festival -

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Gardens line-up announced for RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2018 -

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Urban chic wins top show garden honours at Harrogate -

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Peabody invites tenders for Thamesmead’s Landscape and Green Infrastructure Strategy -

Thursday, April 26, 2018

30 years at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for Mark Gregory -

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Top international designers to gather at Singapore Garden Festival 2018 -

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Yorkshire horticulturist sees life’s work immortalised -

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Civils Expo returns to Birmingham this October -

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sensory tours of the famous rose garden -

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Final four young landscapers selected for Young Landscapers Award -

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Plant power, pollination and urban innovation at Chelsea Flower Show 2018 -

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hunts Engineering celebrating double milestone -

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Outdoor Creations celebrates 10th Anniversary -

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Brewin Dolphin Installation takes visitors back in time at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show -

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hard Landscaping features on Trailfinders South African Wine Estate Garden -

Monday, April 23, 2018

New Lifestyle Gardens revealed for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 -

Monday, April 23, 2018

National Children’s Gardening Week -

Monday, April 23, 2018

BALI announces GDPR Awareness Day for members -

Monday, April 23, 2018

GreenBlue Urban announce new Tree Grille -

Monday, April 23, 2018

Harrowden Turf

Action for new species discovered on brink of extinction

Tiny, tropical and delicately beautiful Begonia elachista is an enigma in the world of plant research and conservation. Today all at once it officially becomes the newest of its kind known to science; the smallest identified species of Begonia on the planet and recorded as critically endangered – in the name of tourism. The race is on to provide protection and hope for the future, starting with horticultural and scientific research at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

In the wild, Begonia elachista is only known to inhabit a single limestone cave mouth within a national park in central Peru. But, this is not a safe haven for the recently discovered botanical gem. As the Peruvian park authorities prepare to construct a new tourist route to the cave, RBGE tropical biodiversity research scientist Peter Moonlight is collaborating with partners in Peru and the USA to put in place a strategy for a more secure future for this vulnerable but important rarity.

He explained: “Everyone has heard of Begonias and many people tend to associate them with hanging baskets and bedding schemes for public parks. Indeed, with some harshness, Monty Don has labelled them ‘repulsively ugly’. The truth is much more exciting. Begonia is currently the fastest growing plant genus we have. More species have been published in that genus than in any other in the past decade and there are now 1,840 accepted species.”

As publication of the research paper by the European Journal of Taxonomy has drawn closer, there has been a new glimmer of hope. In the last few days the only captive living plant of this species has slowly started to flower in the research houses at RBGE. This could mark a small but incredibly important turning point in the story of Begonia elachista and help secure its future outside its threatened natural habitat.

Peter Moonlight concluded: “As a leading centre of research into Begonia and other key tropical plant families, RBGE is working to discover, study and secure the future of tropical plants and ecosystems for the next generation. Many are still poorly understood although they play a critical role in tropical ecosystems and are of great importance as environmental indicator species. In many cases they also have a strong role to play in the horticultural sector and as a food source, medicine or other products of benefit.  The species discovery programme at RBGE gives previous hidden gems – including Begonia elachista a voice on the global conservation stage.”

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