As well as engaging in research and working on various publications, Botany staff provide advice to members and the media, and give botanical support throughout the RHS, including Curatorial staff, the Trials Department and RHS plant committees.
Over the course of a year, we can expect to identify several thousand specimens, from a host of different sources – bird seed aliens, unlabelled residents in new gardens, plants in holiday snaps – so it can be quite a challenge.
Although the service is primarily intended for RHS members, we happily give advice to students or to anyone with a question about poisonous plants.
It is also our responsibility to ensure that plants in the four RHS gardens are correctly labelled, and to attempt to resolve the taxonomic riddles highlighted by RHS trials.
We work closely with RHS plant committees and assist judges in assessing exhibits at RHS shows. We can also be found offering botanical advice on the advisory stand at Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace flower shows.