11 September 2020

Launching the Anthony Hitchcock Species Recovery Fund

Kew are proud to be supporting BGCI's Anthony Hitchcock Species Recovery Fund to support institutions carrying out threatened plant species reintroductions and recovery.

By Kew Science News

Anthony Hitchcock in a field surrounded by sunshine

On the 7 July 2020 the botanical world lost a passionate plantsman.

Anthony Hitchcock passed away due to COVID-19 complications in Cape Town South Africa.

Anthony was a horticulturalist at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, where he nurtured his love for the conservation and restoration of threatened plants, particularly Erica species. 

He was a champion for the restoration of the Cape Lowlands vegetation, where remnants can be found around the City of Cape Town. 

More than this, Anthony was a man of nature, he loved being outdoors and exploring the veldt. 

Whether in the nursery or out in the field, he had an untiring drive to share his knowledge with others. Anthony was a great teacher and mentor to many young and old who crossed his path. 

His legacy is in the re-establishment of Erica verticillata and Erica turgida, both presumed extinct in the wild, back on the Cape Lowlands. 

Dr Carly Cowell, CITES team lead at Kew says:

"I was privileged to have worked with Anthony for 18 years, he was a dear friend and mentor. I hope that his work will inspire others to restore their precious flora. I will never forget his mischievous sense of humour making any field trip fun no matter the terrain, weather or how cryptic the species we were looking for."

Anthony Hitchcock in a foggy environment dressed in a yellow coat and hat
The 'lost fisherman' Anthony Hitchcock in Matroosberg © Adam Harrower.

The Anthony Hitchcock Species Recovery Fund

Numerous other species are also thriving in restoration sites thanks to Anthony and it is this passion and commitment to saving species that has made the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) establish the Anthony Hitchcock Species Recovery Fund in his honour. 

RBG Kew are proud to have known and worked with Anthony Hitchcock on many of his restoration projects and encourage all to contribute to this fund to support restoration of rare and endangered plant species around the world.


Before his passing, Anthony finalised a research paper with Kew scientists Jenny Williams and Carly Cowell on the reintroduction of the once 'Extinct in the Wild' species Erica turgida.

Hitchcock, A., Williams, J. & Cowell, C. (2020) Lessons learned as Erica turgida is returned. Journal for Nature Conservation 56: 125858.

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