Unveiling treasures and telling truths at the Botanics
Hidden treasures and little known truths are the focus of attention on Wednesday, March 13, when the strange links between the kitchen cupboard, scientific research, horticulture and education at Scotland’s favourite Garden come into their own at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Open evening.
Ginger, turmeric and cardamom are all common features in our kitchens, but how many of us realise they belong in the same plant family? And, what do we know about their natural habitat? Tropical botanist Dr Mark Newman researches the taxonomy of the extensive ginger family, Zingiberaceae, of which there are probably 2,000 wild species, most of them found in the tropical forests of Asia.
The Botanics grows more wild plants related to ginger than virtually anywhere else in the world. Almost all these Zingiberaceae are under glass and the much anticipated Edinburgh Biomes project will potentially allow yet more of these beautiful and increasingly rare plants to be cultivated and displayed in new public Glasshouses.
Mark Newman is convinced of the urgent need to document life on Earth at a time of very rapid loss of species and habitats. Talking about his research in the Edinburgh Herbarium and his research around the world, he will be joined by Head of Education Maggie Killian and Fiona Inches, the Glasshouse Supervisor for the Edinburgh Biomes initiative.
Together, they will explain the amazing breadth of the Garden’s international scientific, horticultural and educational outreach – and how the Edinburgh Biomes has the potential to make an already world-leading institute an even more important resource for protecting our fragile planet.
The evening is hosted by Sir Muir Russell KCB DL FRS, chairman of the Board of Trustees and Simon Milne MBE, Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
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