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January 18, 2018

Latest:

HortAid 2018 gets under way at the Party for Perennial -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Shortlists announced for the Pro Landscaper Business Awards -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hillier set to inspire at RHS Chelsea 2018 -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

APL announces spring seminar Faking It -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show champions the immense power of plants -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Young Gardeners of the Year 2018 competition launches -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Two weeks left to share views on plans for Bristol’s parks -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Carillion’s liquidation and its effect on the landscaping industry -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Perennial offers support following Carillion collapse -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Brighton & Hove City Council produces plan to protect Stanmer Park’s woods -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Liverpool sets out 15-year plan for growth -

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Gristwood and Toms champions international accreditation programme -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Green-tree launches bespoke soil for Rain Gardens -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Make your voice heard – Pro Landscaper digital survey -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Landscaping companies announced for APL Avenue at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2018 -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Butter Wakefield to design Gaze Burvill garden at RHS Chelsea 2018 -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

North Yorkshire nursery helps restore historic site to former glories -

Monday, January 15, 2018

RHS begins search for School Gardeners of the Year -

Monday, January 15, 2018

Thrive seeking more people as volunteering in nature proven to be good for health -

Monday, January 15, 2018

INNSA responds to glyphosate licence renewal -

Monday, January 15, 2018

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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