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Prince Warns of Extinction Threat to Plants

22 March 2005
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The Prince of Wales warned of the threat of extinction facing many of the world's most important plants as he reopened the UK's tallest glass palm house today.

The Victorian building at the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) in Edinburgh has formed part of a three-year, £800,000 project which includes several international plant research and conservation initiatives.

The glass house, which has been closed since 2002, now has a new heating system and floor and some of the plants were pruned ahead of the reopening.

The Prince arrived to tour the Grade A-listed building, designed by Robert Matheson in 1858, before saying: "It will be in every sense a window on the wonderful world of plants."

Speaking to the public outside the palm house, he said: "So many plants are under threat of extinction throughout the world, so what the National Botanic Gardens' role is, is of enormous importance in preserving biodiversity."

"Robert Matheson's beautiful palace of plants is indeed a treasure, not just for the gardens and the city of Edinburgh, but to the whole nation, thanks to the inspired vision of the team here and all its collaborators and the generous support of key benefactors, without whom nothing would happen."

"It has been brilliantly restored and has accorded a new sense of purpose for the 21st Century."

RBG regius keeper Professor Stephen Blackmore echoed the Prince's comments.

"In a century when a third of the world's plants face extinction, those displayed here are more important and precious than ever," he said.

"To avoid such a depressing future it is vital that we explain the work of the RBG and engage people in the conservation of plants."

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