Extinct ‘mountain jewel’ plant returned to wild – in secret location

2 Min Read

A plant that went extinct in the wild has been re-introduced to the UK mainland. We can’t tell you the exact location – it’s a secret, to keep it safe. It’s just one small plant but with one in six species in the UK endangered, you’ve got to start somewhere. We were there the moment pioneering horticulturist Robbie Blackhall-Miles returned it to its native soil.

I first met Robbie at his nursery for threatened plants – tucked away in a quiet part of North Wales. What he keeps there is so valuable, he can’t even get it insured.He asks me to be careful how much we reveal – there is still a lucrative market for rare and special plants, often picked illegally, often fetching thousands of pounds. “There’s only 30 of those trees left in the world,” he says, pointing at a pot.

Around us are trays of seedlings, bags of soil on the floor, plants growing and flowering. Thermometers hang from the roof to check the plants don’t get too hot, too cold or too dry.Robbie is tall and athletic, he talks excitedly. When I started researching this story, Robbie’s name kept popping up in the records of botanical societies – there are few people in Britain who know as much about plants.

He got into botany after wanting to save animals as a child and a brief spell as a model. Now he’s working for Plantlife, a conservation charity.”If you think about British biodiversity like a jigsaw puzzle – all the pieces are really important, but some are missing,” he says.

Read more at bbc.com

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