Gardens Illustrated
Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’.
© Plant Heritage

Plant Heritage calls for help to preserve ten plant groups

Published: July 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

The charity's new campaign aims to encourage passionate plantspeople to start their own National Plant Collection

The charity Plant Heritage has released a list of ten threatened plants that could be helped by the wider horticultural community.

Zinnia elegans ‘Benary’s Giant Orange’
© Sietske de Vries

The Missing Genera is a list of plant groups that aren't currently represented by a National Plant Collection and could therefore be at risk if a collection isn't started.

Plant Heritage is asking for people across the UK to help by starting their own National Plant Collection for one of these.

The Missing Genera are ten different types of plants which are perfect for any type of home or conservatory. They include berberis, daphne, hoya and gaura.

The fact that the plants aren't represented by a National Plant Collection means that the range of species and cultivars are not being cared for and are at risk of being lost.

Vicki Cooke, conservation manager at Plant Heritage explains: “The idea of the Missing Genera campaign is to showcase some of the many types of garden plant we have in the UK that don’t have a National Plant Collection to look after them. Anyone can help by starting their own National Plant Collection of one of the types listed this year, which they can care for, grow and ultimately help to conserve for future generations to enjoy.”

The ten plants on the list are


Also called the Snake Lily, there are many species and a handful of known cultivars grown in the UK. These striking plants have unusual flowers, some of which are tender and others which can be grown outside in a shady spot.


One of the firsts bursts of colour in spring, Aubrieta boasts either pink, purple or blue flowers which light up a rock garden, or any well-drained patch of ground.


Berberis lologensis 'Mystery Fire'
© Plant Heritage

Also known as barberry, these deciduous or evergreen shrubs stand-out due to their colourful flowers and berries - as well as their thorns!


Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’.
© Plant Heritage

Native to Britain and other parts of Europe, these winter or spring flowering shrubs have incredibly fragranced flowers. They dislike waterlogged soils and drought.


If a delicious floral scent is what you’re looking for in a plant, look no further! Also called silverberry they can flower in spring and early summer, or in autumn.


Pretty in shades of pink and white, Gaura flowers from late summer into autumn. They’re drought tolerant deciduous perennials, so you can enjoy its delicate flowers year after year!


These beautifully scented plants are perfect in a home or conservatory. Also known as wax flowers, there are 18 species and cultivars currently available in the UK.

Papaver (oriental group)

These pretty perennial poppies are a stalwart of early summer. Since the 19th century oriental poppies have been bred to produce a range of coloured flowers, from pastel shades to deep plums, in addition to their original red.


With its eye-catching, hanging bunches of pink, white or yellow flowers, this tall member of the legume family needs space to grow - and for their beauty to be appreciated!


A genus of two halves; the indoor houseplant boasts foliage of purple, green and white, often with no or insignificant flowers. Head outside however and you’ll find a herbaceous perennial with lilac, blue or purple flowers in clumps of strap-like foliage.


Find out how to create a national plant collection here.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London


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