Plants & People

Food for thought

  • Built in 1967
  • Desired temperature: 18 - 25ºC
  • Relative humidity: 95%

Here in the Plants & People House, luxuriant tropical rainforest vegetation - including bananas, rice, sugar and cocoa - surrounds the central pond.

Nelumbo nucifera the sacred lotus in religious traditionIn the summer the pond is dominated by the huge floating leaves of the giant water lily (Victoria), which thrives in the high humidity and hot conditions of this house. Although giant water lily plants survive for years in the wild, they cannot be sustained all year round so far north due to the low winter light levels. Instead, fresh seed is sown each year in January to produce new plants.

This ever-changing display is often featured in the pages of the Online Water Garden Interntional Journal in articles written by Pat Clifford, the Senior Horticulturist responsible for this glasshouse.

Display of plant productsThe tropics make a major contribution to the global economy, providing the majority of the world's 200 key food plants; the products of a few can been seen on the Food Stall.

The small ship wreck in the south corner illustrates how man has influenced the movement of plants around the globe; be it for the food industry, medicine or even for the global house plant market. You may recognise some of those planted out in this house.

Back to Top

The pond with giant water lilies.

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