RHS biological records centre - plants, fungi and animals recorded at RHS Gardens

RHS project team
Dr Andrew Salisbury, RHS
Start date
06/01/1997 00:00:00

Biodiversity, Recorder 6, wildlife, wild flowers, RHS Gardens, Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

The problem

With wildlife (biodiversity) in mind, the challenge for RHS gardens is to encourage, record, preserve and promote biodiversity, without compromising garden design, innovation or management.

RHS gardens support a wide range of wildlife and native plants and a centralised digital record of this biodiversity has been maintained on Recorder software since 1997. The database contains more than 50,000 records which date back to a record of the Brimstone butterfly from the Wisley estate in 1891, twelve years before Wisley Garden was donated to the RHS.

RHS gardens support rare and uncommon plants and animals and more than 100 UK priority species have been recorded. These include the Stag beetle (Lucanus cervus), Red-tailed Carder bumblebee (Bombus ruderarius), Bird’s-nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), Copse bindweed (Fallopia dumetorum), Early meadow grass (Poa infirma) and Spring vetch (Vicia lathyroides) at RHS Garden Wisley; the Pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), Otter (Lutra lutra), Water germander (Teucrium scordium) and a lichen (Usnea articulata) at Rosemoor Garden; the Brown hare (Lepus europaeus) and Turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) at Hyde Hall Garden and the Lesser redpoll (Carduelis cabaret) at Harlow Carr.


Use of Recorder software is being promoted across all RHS gardens to provide a centralised database of native and naturalised biodiversity.

New users are being trained to use the software.
Records held on Recorder are passed to local (e.g. county biological record centres) and national (e.g. National Biodiversity Network).

Benefits to gardeners

A database of the native and naturalised fauna and flora found in the RHS gardens at Wisley (Surrey), Hyde Hall (Essex), Rosemoor (Devon) and Harlow Carr (North Yorkshire) plays an important role in promoting the wildlife value of RHS Gardens and informing management decisions.

Further information

Download a poster on the Wild Fauna and Flora of RHS Garden Wisley

National Biodiversity Network

Recorder 6 software

The UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework

Andrew Salisbury, RHS

The RHS is keen for this data to be used in further research projects and collaborations. Email [email protected] if you would like to use RHS data for research.

If you have visited one of the RHS Gardens and would like to report a wildlife sighting please email us at [email protected], with details of what you saw and where and when you saw it, plus any other comments on the sighting.

Get involved

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.