John DavidJohn leads our Herbarium and Botany teams, our research into Narcissus, Nerine and Hyacinthaceae, and our projects into cultivated plant diversity, petaloid monocot taxonomy and cultivated plant nomenclature.

He joined the RHS as Head of Botany in 2005, after 17 years studying fungi, running the herbarium and training to understand the scientific naming of plants at the International Mycological Institute.

What do you do?

I started my RHS career as Head of Botany with responsibility for the botany team, RHS Herbarium, new species registration and plant trials. In 2010 I became a Chief Scientist taking on responsibility for the plant health and horticultural science teams, and actively developing the role of RHS Science in plant health and gardens.

In 2013 I became Head of Horticultural Taxonomy, and as part of the Horticulture Working Group began inputting into plant-related legislation by establishing the Nagoya Protocol which has changed the way we acquire and use plants obtained from other countries.

I am actively involved in cultivated plant conservation, as co-editor of the Growing Heritage Action Plan (2007), and collaborating with Plant Heritage on the development of the Threatened Plant Project and promoting the importance of cultivated plant conservation at a national level.

With a long-standing interest in weather and climate I have taken on the Wisley Weather station and collate the weather data from the RHS's gardens.


  • A revision of the genus Nerine in cultivation
  • Systematics of the Scilla group
  • Towards a monograph in Narcissus: Problems and Challenges in Section Pseudonarcissus (PhD Supervisor)


With your support, we can undertake valuable research into gardening pests and diseases.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.