A recent article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, highlights the importance of botanic garden plant collections to science and conservation. The report describes how a botanist at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in West London discovered a new plant species during a lunchtime stroll through the Princess of Wales Conservatory. The new plant, now named Isoglossa variegata, was donated to Kew by Swedish botanists following an expedition to the Eastern Arc mountains of Tanzania in the 1990s. Kew gardeners had been using the plants as tropical bedding for over a decade, unaware that this was an undescribed species. The plant is among more than 250 new species discovered by the gardens’ botanists in the past year.
To read the article, please go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/dec/22/kew-gardens-new-plant-species