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Plants & fungi

Cyclamen carpet in bloom at Wakehurst Place

Cyclamen carpet
Mon, 2014-09-08 17:56

Thought to be one of the largest populations of flowering cyclamen in the country this stunning display is produced by a Mediterranean variety: Cyclamen hederifolium.

Wakehurst yew hedges are used as an ingredient in chemotherapy drugs

Chinese plum yew
Fri, 2014-08-29 18:29

The sides of the Pleasaunce hedges at Wakehurst, Kew’s country garden in Ardingly, have proved invaluable to Limehurst who have been collecting yew hedge clippings around the UK since 1992. The firm, based at Hambrook near Chichester, extract taxol from the clippings - a constituent of a chemotherapy drug given to treat ovarian and breast cancers.

Evolution of Europe’s rarest orchid

Photo of Platanthera azorica
Mon, 2014-07-07 15:09

The IUCN Red List of endangered species currently recognises only one species of butterfly-orchid on the mid-Atlantic Azorean archipelago. However, a recent monographic study, published in PeerJ, unequivocally revealed the presence of three butterfly-orchid species on the islands, although it reinforced the idea of a single immigration event by airborne seed from mainland Europe.