Sunday, 26 April 2015

RHS Project on Naturalised Gunnera

The Botany team at the Royal Horticultural Society in Wisley are currently undertaking a project on Gunnera,  aiming to better determining which species have naturalised in the British Isles and whether hybrids have formed between these species, as well as looking at plants in cultivation.

The project scientists want to know whether there are any populations of naturalised gunneras in VC55 and, if so, whether we would be willing to collect some samples this year. They only need a small piece of leaf material, approximately 3cm2 per sample plant, for DNA analysis plus locality details and photographs of the plants, including habit and close-up of the inflorescences or infructescenses, so that these can be used for examination and to act as voucher specimens. If you find any naturalised Gunnera (ie not obviously planted in a garden or park etc.) and would like to help, then the team will send you sample collecting bags filled with silica gel and some instructions. Please contact:

Dr Kalman Konyves
Tel: 01483 226 562
RHS, Wisley
Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB

Please check your identification so as to not confuse Gunnera (very large, bright green leaves with stiff, rough hairs, flowering late with dense, dark red-brown inflorescence) with Petasites species (Butterburs; large, dark green leaves with flexible stems, flowering in spring with pale pink to purple inflorescence).

Gunnera manicata

Petasites hybridus

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