Royal Botanic Gardens breaks record for largest plant collection

Worlds tallest and smelliest plant at Royal Botanic Gardens

Kew Gardens has set a new record for the largest living plant collection at a single site, according to Guinness World Records (GWR).

Established in 1759, the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew had 16,900 unique plant species as of May 2019.

This makes it the most diverse collection of living flora at a single-site botanic garden, GWR said.

Richard Barley, director of horticulture at RBG, called the award “a fantastic accolade”.

Mr Barley said: “We are absolutely thrilled to hold the record for the largest living plant collection.

“It re-enforces the importance of botanic gardens around the world, as not only beautiful places to enjoy, but as essential hubs of inspiration and education.”

Kew Gardens expects the record number of plants to rise significantly when it completes an ongoing stock-take of all its collections.

The UNESCO World Heritage site contains many record-breaking plants including the Titan Arum, officially the worlds tallest and smelliest plant.

In 2020, a specimen at the nursery at Kew earned the award for the Longest Nepenthes plant trap measuring 16.9 in (43cm) from the base to the lid.

Also managed by RBG Kew is the world’s largest seed repository, the Millennium Seed Bank – based at Kew’s satellite Wakehurst facility in West Sussex.

The bank contains more than 2.4 billion seeds from almost 40,000 species.

Adam Millward, a managing editor of GWR, said: “I’ve had the dubious honour of smelling the pungent Titan Arum up close, contended with the steam and sprinklers to measure a prodigious pitcher trap for a GWR certificate.

“It’s fantastic to be able to celebrate the entire collection – surely one of the jewels of the botanical world – in the GWR 2022 book.”

News Source: BBC News

Written by Nicky Wicky

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