Pink on the brink
15 October, 2013
This week’s blog comes courtesy of Matt McCabe, one of Historic Scotland’s Rangers based in Holyrood Park. There are many rare plants within Holyrood Park and here he explains how the rangers are involved in their conservation:
The Historic Scotland rangers at Holyrood Park are currently working on an exciting project with the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and the City of Edinburgh Council. Our goal is to bring a rare plant back from the brink of local extinction.
Maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) is a hardy perennial plant which produces beautiful pink flowers from mid- to late summer. It is internationally classed as near-threatened and is nationally scarce in the UK. What this means, technically, is that it is found in fewer than a hundred 10km x 10km squares in the British Isles.
To our knowledge, the plant grows nowhere in Edinburgh and the Lothians, other than at one location within Holyrood Park. Even here it is limited to around 15 small specimens.
Over the past year, seeds have been collected from this vanishing beauty and propagated in the greenhouses of Holyrood Palace. These are now being planted in five sites within Holyrood Park and their progress will be monitored in years to come.
There are also plants being bedded in the Palace gardens which will make seed collection easier in the future. Through continued collection and propagation of seed from Holyrood, we and our partners hope to repopulate the City of Edinburgh with this rarity.
This is another example of how valuable Holyrood Park is for wildlife. It also demonstrates the kind of work we and our partners do to help conserve our natural environment. This work will continue throughout Scotland’s Year of Natural and beyond.