The Plant List is a working list of all known plant species. It aims to be comprehensive for species of Vascular plant (flowering plants, conifers, ferns and their allies) and of Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts).

Collaboration between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden enabled the creation of The Plant List by combining multiple checklist data sets held by these institutions and other collaborators.

Version 1.1 (September 2013) replaces Version 1.0 which remains accessible here. Version 1.1 includes new data sets, updated versions of the original data sets and improved algorithms to resolve logical conflicts between those data sets. The differences between versions are summarised here.

The Plant List provides the Accepted Latin name for most species, with links to all Synonyms by which that species has been known. Around 20% of names are unresolved indicating that the data sources included provided no evidence or view as to whether the name should be treated as accepted or not, or there were conflicting opinions that could not be readily resolved.

The Plant List is not perfect and represents work in progress. Our aims remain to produce a ‘best effort’ list, to demonstrate progress and to stimulate further work. Important limitations are summarised here.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has launched its new ‘Plant Selector’, a web-based tool to help gardeners trying to decide which plants are best for their garden.
RHS chief of horticultural informatics Janet Cubey said:

“We listened to a wide range of users, some of whom used the old version of Plant Selector. They were all gardeners and web users to varying degrees, so this gave us a broad range of ways people wanted to be able to choose a plant for their garden. This enabled us to build a much more usable interface for the majority of our users – making searching for plants even easier.”
The Plant Selector site asks gardeners to input their criteria such as height, soil type, flower colour, season and plant type. Gardeners are then provided with a list of plant suggestions, which they can then refine by adding further criteria.

The user is also guided on a plant by plant basis to relevant gardening advice topics from RHS experts, as well as supplier information from the RHS Plant Finder.
Cubey added:

“We believe that this service, which the RHS is currently providing free to all, will encourage gardeners to consider plants that may previously have been unaware of, or to use planting combinations that they may not have thought of. We already have over 3,300 plants to choose from and we are adding new ones every week. So I am sure there will be something for everyone.”

Shrub Selector Tool


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RHS PLANT FINDER

Last year we were asked to write a few words to feature in the current edition of The RHS Plant Finder. Having just recently completed this year’s submissions, an annual task for a chilly winter’s day, I thought it would be interesting to post a permanent copy for those who missed the original article.

What does the RHS Plant Finder mean to you? How has it helped you?

Initially, we looked upon The Plant Finder as almost an extension to our catalogue, giving people the chance to check back on old editions to see who may have stocked the plant they were looking for. Soon, it became the go-to guide for the correct naming of plants, although frustratingly, our own annual printed catalogue soon became out of date as the next round of name changes came into effect.

Nowadays, with The Plant Finder and our own catalogue online, we can react instantly to name changes as a familiar, albeit tricky-to-pronounce name disappears to be replaced by some other tongue twister. At least for the past 30 years, we have reluctantly yet confidently been able to say: “Well that’s what The Plant Finder now tells us, so it must be correct.”

Five plants selected by The Beth Chatto Gardens that have an interesting relevance to The Plant Finder

Lysichiton x hortensis

Each year, when The Plant Finder is published, the first thing we do is to thumb through to see if we are still the only nursery to offer this hybrid skunk cabbage, and we still are (I’ve just checked!). This hybrid between the Asian L. camtschatcensis and the now banned-for-sale L. americanus, produces dramatic clumps of creamy white spathes. It’s sterile, so does not set seed, therefore it is unable to colonise, as is the issue with L. americanus, and should be more widely grown although it is slow to propagate.

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Corrie’s Gold’

With so many new forms appearing each year, it was pleasing to have offered the first variegated gaura back in the early 1990’s. G. lindheimeri ‘Corrie’s Gold was discovered at the Gardens by a member of our propagating staff, Debbie Allcock, and posthumously named after her daughter. As prolific and long flowering as the species, and an ideal container plant.

Galanthus elwesii ‘Cedric’s Prolific’

Many plants came to Beth from Sir Cedric Morris, whose garden at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk, was both an inspiration and a learning ground for Beth during her early years as a gardener and nursery women. Cedric loved his bulbs and this snowdrop stood out over the years as such a good “doer” and worthy of naming.

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Rubie’s Pink’

With many new introductions coming from both this country and abroad of this easy, long flowering perennial we felt it was high time we put a name to this knotweed which we had grown un-named for many years. A true pink to go alongside the more-often-seen scarlet or white forms. Named after my granddaughter in 2011.

Geranium maculatum ‘Beth Chatto’

We are still unsure how this form of spotted crane’s bill acquired its name, although it was often referred as ‘Chatto’s form’ – an invalid name. Possibly named in Holland but why, we don’t know, as the plant did not originate from here. Perhaps someone can enlighten us? I do find the naming of plants fascinating and always find time to read the explanation of name changes at the beginning of each new edition of the printed plant finder.

David Ward, Garden and Nursery Director

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