James Armitage

Senior Botanist

I live in the small Hampshire village of Chawton with my wife, two children and dog and in my free time struggle to keep on top of a wilful garden.

I have been at Wisley since 2002, starting as Botanist straight after completing an MSc in Plant Diversity at the University of Reading. Before that I studied Plantsmanship at Edinburgh Botanic Garden. I am now Principal Scientist – Horticultural Taxonomy, responsible for two members of staff and a research programme that seeks ultimately to classify and catalogue the garden flora of the British Isles.

My interest in plants is wide-ranging, encompassing the blousiest border perennials and the lowliest weeds. In 2010 I was co-author of a book, Wild Flowers of Wisley, A Centenary Flora, detailing the wild and native plants of the Wisley Estate.

Some of my recent research projects have focused on alien invasive plants of horticultural origin and the importance for gardeners and legislators of taxonomic clarity in dealing with these plants.

I am Chairman of Hortax (The Horticultural Taxonomy Group, hortax.org.uk), an independent body committed to helping people understand the naming and classification of cultivated plants and providing an information resource on all aspects of garden plant taxonomy.

James's posts and conversations

  • Two new books from RHS Botany

    It’s an exciting time for botany at the RHS. This month sees the launch of two books with

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