Rare Plants explores what makes the world's rarest plants so exceptional, and by what means they have become so scarce, telling the story of 40 rare and endangered species through exquisite botanical artworks sourced from the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Accompanied by illuminating and authoritative text, the book is presented alongside 40 frameable art prints and encased in a collector's box.
Some of the most beautiful, useful and fascinating plants in the world are also the most uncommon, and have drawn the fascination of plant hunters, botanists, scientists and gardeners for centuries. This rarity, combined with pressures from humankind's impact on the planet, has brought many of these species to the point of crisis. In a race against time to conserve the world's plant biodiversity, organizations such as Kew are deploying incredible science to save our rare and threatened plants. Cutting-edge genomics reveals new species, distribution modelling directs us to outlying plant populations, while drone and satellite data highlight the speed at which species are declining. This vital information informs which habitats should be protected and prioritizes plant conservation programmes.
Rare Plants finds hope among the challenges, and exhibits the role of botanic gardens in conservation across the globe.
Ed Ikin is Deputy Director of Wakehurst, Kew's wild botanic garden, and was previously General Manager of Mordern Hall Park and Rainham Hall for the National Trust. He is the author of Thoughtful Gardening and Garden Friends.