Collaboration blooms between Scotland and China

Scientists and horticulturists at two leading botanic gardens have been given a welcome boost by the signing of formal links between the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and Beijing Botanical Garden.

 RBGE’s Director of Science, Professor Peter Hollingsworth and Director Ran He of Beijing Botanical Garden, jointly signed the Collaboration Agreement which means the two organisations will now work more closely together and share expertise in horticulture and conservation. The signing of the agreement coincides with the First Minister’s visit to China.

 Professor Hollingsworth said: “I am delighted with this agreement to strengthen collaboration between the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Beijing Botanical Garden. Sharing expertise and delivering training in horticulture and conservation is critically important in efforts to protect and restore plant diversity. It also underpins the ongoing development of botanic gardens as venues for amenity and environmental education that are visited by many millions of people each year”.

 The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, welcomed news of the Collaboration Agreement between the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Beijing Botanical Garden which came during her visit to China.

 The First Minister said: “This agreement is a symbol of Scotland’s long standing relationship with China and highlights another area where our countries have shared interests and ambitions.  

 “By sharing expertise and working together in the field, Scottish and Chinese botanists will further develop our understanding of effective nature conservation approaches - including the reintroduction of rare and threatened plant species - helping to ensure Scotland and China’s natural environments remain protected and cherished for generations to come.”

The agreement, signed on 9 April 2018, includes promoting staff and student exchanges to share expertise, undertaking joint botanical expeditions, running training programmes in horticulture, and working together on best practice for the conservation and reintroduction of rare and threatened plant species.

This includes sharing protocols to cultivate the charismatic Himalayan Poppies (Meconopsis species) and other Chinese plant species.

 This collaboration builds on a long history of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh working with botanists in China, dating back more than 100 years. This includes the early expeditions from 1904 by famous botanical explorers such as George Forrest, and many subsequent decades of collaboration between RBGE and botanic gardens in China. This botanical collaboration is featured in the Chinese Scottish Tartan, created in 2006, which incorporates colours of the Scottish Saltire with the red and yellow of the Chinese flag, along with green bands to symbolise the great co-operation between Scottish and Chinese botanists.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)