Nature Heroes - Scottish Plant Recovery - Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Ten threatened native plants including wych elm and alpine blue-sow-thistle are being helped by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and its science-led recovery project that aims to increase their numbers and distribution.

View to Glen Coe during site assessment fieldwork - copyright Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Guided by research exploring why these species have declined, the Scottish Plant Recovery project is collecting and propagating the plants to maximise genetic diversity and adaptability. The long-term goal is resilient, self-sustaining populations that are spreading naturally.

The project brings science and horticulture together, working with landowners across Scotland to return a new generation of plants to the most suitable sites. This includes 250 potentially disease-resistant wych elm saplings which will be planted over the winter.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - project tiles
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - Project Highlights
Click for a full description

A series of 6 graphical tiles - 

  • 4,407 crab apple seeds ready to sow and 25,000 dried for storage
  • 9,725 seeds of alpine blue-sow-thistle sown
  • 250 potentially disease-resistant wych elm saplings to be planted in winter 23/24
  • 100 million elms lost to Dutch elm disease in Britain
  • 4 rock ledges in the Cairngorms account for all wild British alpine blue-sow-thistle
  • 9 sites in Perthshire account for the entire UK population of whorled Solomon’s seal

 A three-year grant totalling £715,000 from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund is enabling the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to build new propagation facilities and carry out genetic research that will guide the process of restoration. The work builds on the Garden’s expertise in the conservation translocation of plants.

Project partners include Borders Forest Trust; Langwell and Braemore Estate; National Trust for Scotland; Alladale Wilderness Reserve; Brahan Estate; Wildland; Forestry and Land Scotland; The Assynt Foundation and Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust.

Find out more

Scotland's Biodiversity Strategy and the Consultation

Last updated: