Plant Heritage, formerly the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG), was established in 1978 with the aim of encouraging and overseeing the establishment of well-documented and researched collections of garden plants.
In the main, each collection is devoted to a single genus, but a few have a broader remit. Taxonomic research is encouraged, as is the placing of voucher specimens in the RHS Herbarium at Wisley. Documentation kept for the National Plant Collections includes descriptions, photographs, cultivation information and details of the origin and history of each plant. Duplicate collections help ensure the survival of these often very rare plants.
Currently, there are more than 650 registered National Plant Collections. Please see the Plant Heritage website for further information about the National Plant Collections scheme.
National Plant Collections at RHS Gardens
Between them, RHS Gardens Wisley, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr hold 11 National Plant Collections*, under the auspices of Plant Heritage.
Wisley currently maintains collections of Crocus, Epimedium, heathers, rhubarb, gooseberries and redcurrants. The heather collection comprises plants from the genera Erica, Calluna and Daboecia.
At Rosemoor are collections of Cornus and Ilex, while Hyde Hall holds the collection of Viburnum with the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Harlow Carr maintains a collection of Dryopteris, which has a provisional status.
Each National Plant Collection held by the RHS has an appointed custodian.
Visit the Plant Heritage website
Search the National Plant Collections database
*The heather collection comprises plants from the genera Erica, Calluna and Daboecia; this, along with the provisional status of the Dryopteris collection at Harlow Carr explains the reason why sometimes the RHS is said to hold nine National Plant Collections while other sources list 11.