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What’s in a name?

A Sacred Lotus Nicholas Wray

Press release issued: 13 May 2015

Have you ever wondered how plants are classified and named? This question and many more will be answered this Sunday [May 17] when the University of Bristol Botanic Garden celebrates the third international Fascination of Plants Day.

Members of the public will be able to learn from students in the School of Biological Sciences how plants are classified using the system invented by Linnaeus over 250 years ago. They will also find out how modern DNA sequencing has revolutionised plant classification.

Visitors will also discover how plants are used as foods and medicines around the world and how plants build ecosystems.

Professor Simon Hiscock, Director of the Botanic Garden, said: “This year’s Fascination of Plants Day, in collaboration with the Linnean Society of London, will give visitors the opportunity to discover how plants are classified and named using the latest DNA-based methods, while still following the principals set by Linnaeus over 250 years ago.  They will also be able to explore the garden where they will see a myriad of truly fascinating plants.”

The third international Fascination of Plants Day 2015 will be launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). The aim of the day is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and excited about the importance of plant science for agriculture, in sustainably producing food, as well as for horticulture, forestry and all of the non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy and pharmaceuticals.  Another key message is the role of plants in environmental conservation.

The University of Bristol Botanic Garden international Fascination of Plants Day will take place on Sunday 17 May from 10 am to 5 pm.

Admission is £4.50 for non-members, free to Friends of the Botanic Garden, University staff and retired staff, students and children under 16No booking required.

Further information is available from the Botanic Garden, tel 0117 331 4906 or email

Further information

About the Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden has a strong evolutionary theme and cultivates over 4,500 plant species forming four core collections that illustrate plant evolution, plants from Mediterranean climates, useful plants and rare and threatened native plants to the Bristol area. 

Star attractions include an amazing dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants including the dinosaurs’ favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, monkey puzzles and Wolly, the Wollemi Pine.  Other delights include the Chinese and Western herb gardens and an inspiring display of plants illustrating floral diversity. 

Opening times for the Botanic Garden:
Open Monday to Friday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30pm.
June, July, August and September.  Open Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

Admission is £4.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.

Teas will be available on the terrace every Sunday until the end of September for Garden visitors, served from the Devers room in the Holmes.

Dogs (except registered disability assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Botanic Garden.

The garden is largely accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the Garden and glasshouses. Disabled toilet facilities are available on site.

The garden also offers private day, evening and weekend guided tours for groups of ten upwards and gardening or any other leisure clubs.  Please contact the garden for further information.  There is a charge for the guide.

Directions to the Botanic Garden
From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Botanic Garden at the Holmes is 150 m on the right.

Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden. For more information go to the Friends of the Botanic Garden or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.

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