CHRIS' introductions growing at KEW & other botanic gardens


Clematis connata growing in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, raised from seed supplied by P.Kohli & Co.,
for the Kashmir Botanical Expedition in 1983; CHP&W [or KBE] 326  © Chris Chadwell © Chris Chadwell

Clematis connata CHP& W 326 (supplied by P.Kohli & Co.) flowering in Harry Hay's garden, Surrey (within a poly-tunnel); note the 'connate' leaf-bases

Potentilla salesoviana growing in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, raised from seed by a shareholder and donated to Kew - the present-day name for this plant is COMARUM SALESOVIANUM; CC261 © Chris Chadwell [scanned in from slide]

I'm afraid the labelling at the time when some CC et al introductions were growing at Kew (there was a major upheaval, when the whole extended rockery area was dug-up, with many plants (including some of mine) being discarded, to focus upon introductions from Kew expeditions) left a lot to be desired. It seems the transfer of written records to a computer data-base was left to students, who were prone to typing and transcription errors.  On one visit I was looking out for Himalayan plants around the rockery area at Kew and came across a number which looked familiar but was initially confused by the reference numbers with abbreviations varying from BEK, to KABE, to KBE, eventually realising that they were from my Kashmir Botanical Expedition 1983 (abbreviated KBE or CHP&W).  Having spoken to quite a number of plant enthusiasts, they all assume that a labelled plant at Kew must be correctly identified - that is not always the case.  The best labelling I know of is the Berlin Botanic Garden.

On a number of occasions I have been told that plant enthusiasts assume that because a specimen has a label at a major botanic garden, such as Kew, then it must be correctly identified - well, that is often far from the case.  The slide above has, to the right, correctly identified Waldheimia tomentosa [syn. Allardia tomentosa] - as you can see the plant growing in what was called  the 'New' Alpine house at Kew, clearly does not match.  Few people understand the process of plant introduction and the reliance upon a 'field' identification, which must always be viewed merely as provisional and yet can be taken as gospel.