Meet the Horticultural Taxonomy team

Our team focuses on recording the diversity of more than 400,000 cultivated plants growing in the UK – be it preserving specimens or providing the correct naming of plants. Our research underpins their value for ecosystem services and conservation. We are the designated international registration authority for 9 groups of cultivated plants

Dr John David |  Head of Horticultural Taxonomy

Dr John David leads the Botany, Herbarium and Registration teams, as well as research projects on cultivated plant diversity, petaloid monocot taxonomy and cultivated plant nomenclature.

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Yvette Harvey |  Keeper of the Herbarium

Yvette Harvey is responsible for the Society’s collection of over 90,000 dried, cultivated plant specimens, as well as 3,500 paintings, 35,000 photographs and collectors’ notes, and a devoted team of curators, digitisers and volunteers.

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Saskia Harris |  Herbarium Curator

Saskia replies to enquiries sent by members and colleagues to the Horticultural Taxonomy team to identity cultivated plants. The identifications support the work of other teams such as Pathology, Entomology, Horticultural Information and Environmental Horticulture within RHS Science.

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Clare Booth-Downs |  Herbarium Curator

Clare Booth-Downs helps to curate and care for the collections of dried plant specimens and associated material in the RHS Herbarium. She is a plant collector and digitiser and helps to maintain the herbarium’s collections’ management system.

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Louise Gunner |  Herbarium Curator and Floral Judging Co-ordinator

Louise Gunner cares for the dried and pressed plant specimens in our herbarium, cataloguing and preserving them to ensure it’s safeguarded for the future. During the show season, Louise works as Floral Judging Co-ordinator for RHS Flower Shows.

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Mandeep Matharu |  Herbarium Curator (Digitiser)

Mandeep Matharu is responsible for creating digital versions of the dried and pressed specimens that make up the cultivated plant collection. An image of each record is captured before being labelled on the central database so it can be accessed, managed and updated.

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Lydia Walles |  Herbarium Curator (Digitiser)

Lydia Walles works within the digitisation team to ensure the RHS Herbarium specimens are photographed beautifully and have accurate information associated with them so they can be made available online to an international audience.

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Sharon McDonald |  International Cultivated Plant Registrar

Sharon McDonald is responsible for the registration of new conifer, Dahlia, Dianthus and Rhododendron cultivars – ensuring uniformity, accuracy and stability in the naming of cultivated plants.

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Sarah Holme |  International Cultivated Plant Registrar

Sarah Holme collates and records information about new, existing and historical cultivars of Clematis and Lilium.

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Neil Lancaster |  Senior Botanist

Neil Lancaster is a senior botanist working on plant identification, classification and nomenclature.

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Dr Kálmán Könyves |  Horticultural Taxonomist

Dr Kálmán Könyves is a botanist and taxonomist, studying the evolutionary relationship between plant groups using DNA sequencing. He joined the Horticultural Taxonomy team in 2014 upon completion of his RHS-sponsored studies.

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Dr Dawn Edwards |  Botanist

Dr Dawn Edwards specialises in cultivated plant names, applying her expertise as an Editor of RHS Plant Finder and Lead RHS Editor of The Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs. She is also Secretary to the RHS Nomenclature and Taxonomy Advisory Group (NATAG).

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Meet our other RHS Science teams

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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.