James borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator, with a particular interest in how species adapt to changing climate.

Botanic Gardens and Conservation


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

I’ve spent the past two weeks on a plant taxonomy and fieldwork course at RBG, Kew. The course was excellent, but the setting was truly outstanding.

For anyone not familiar with Kew, it is probably one of the most important plant conservation institutions in the world. There’s over 30,000 species of plants in the living collection, more than 7.5 million specimens in the herbarium and a staff of world renounded scientists including botanists of all descriptions.

I’m very much going to miss exploring the Palm House over lunch, browsing the Orchid collection and searching out plants I’ve never heard of in the gardens. I’ll especially miss the enormous Redwood Grove*.

If you get the chance to visit, then go!

*OK, I know… Kew’s Redwoods aren’t enormous (here’s a scale drawing), but I haven’t managed to be sent to do fieldwork in California just yet, so they’ll have to do!

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