Phil Esseen, botany and horticulture curator and his team have been working on this habitat over the past 12 months and a lot of careful planning and hard work has gone into transforming the space for our visitors.
Phil tells us more below:
We’ve done a lot of work to create some flexible spaces in our public greenhouses so we not only get to create beautiful displays but we also get the opportunity to tell people about vital plant conservation. Sadly plant species are often overlooked when people think about conservation but unfortunately it’s a growing problem with many species across the globe on the very edge of extinction.
We invite you to take a journey through our five threatened plant collections, from pitcher plants to orchids and cactus. The journey will not only show visitors the beautiful plants and flowers in the collections but also explain plant biodiversity and current threats that are facing plants, which include illegal collection from the wild, invasive species and habitat destruction.
We also hope to showcase the palm oil plant which is being cultivated across Indonesia to make palm oil which has led to mass deforestation and threatening other species, like the critically endangered orangutan. The botany and horticulture team will be regularly evolving The Plant Project to tell new stories and highlight new plants, so be sure to keep popping back.
By telling stories about the current threats to plants, we want people to come away from the zoo understanding what we do. It’s a complex job and there are many things to consider when maintaining a threatened plant collection. Not many people know, but plants need genetic diversity just as animals do, which takes a lot of work and communication with different teams within the zoo.
“The most important thing for me is that people come away from The Plant Project knowing they can do something to help; whether it’s buying products containing sustainable palm oil, not planting invasive species within their garden or supporting our conservation programmes around the world, we can all do something to help conserve plant species!