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Kew Gardens Is Now Officially Home To The Largest Living Plant Collection On Planet Earth

Jack Saddler Jack Saddler - Staff Writer

Kew Gardens Is Now Officially Home To The Largest Living Plant Collection On Planet Earth

London’s favourite gardens have shattered a Guinness World Record!

Last month, we told you that Kew Garden’s was, in fact, the people of Britain’s (yes, not just London’s) favourite garden in the whole country to visit over summer.

And, it seems they can’t help but sweep up even more accolades, this time from the folks at Guinness World Records, no less! Yes, Kew Gardens has just been recognised for boasting the “largest collection of living plants at a single-site botanic garden” in the world. Everybody bow down. (Read their entry here).

Image: POACEAE, Phyllostachys angusta.

With a mind-melting 16,900 species of plants at their famed 320-acre site, Kew Gardens will have a mention in the Guinness 2022 Record book, for the impressive collection at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Richard Barley, Director of Horticulture and Learning at RBG Kew, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to hold the record for the largest living plant collection. It is a fantastic accolade, and a credit to the tireless work of our horticulturists and scientists.

“It also re-enforces the importance of botanic gardens around the world, as not only beautiful places to enjoy, but as essential hubs of inspiration and education, increasing awareness of the vital importance of plants to the health of our planet.”

Read more: Kew Gardens Is Officially The UK’s Favourite Garden To Visit This Summer, According To Study

Kew Gardens are no stranger to breaking records. They hold a number of titles, including hosting the smelliest plant in the world: the titan arum–which gives off an almost unbearable stench, resembling that of rotting flesh, apparently. Nice. This very same plant also just happens to have been given the record for the tallest bloom in 2018 reaching 3 metres in height and dating back to prehistoric times.

The titan arum is just one of the nearly 17,000 different species that make up the latest record awarded to the botanic gardens and hub of biological research. They also lay claim to the both the largest (the victoria amazonica) and the smallest (the thermal lily) waterlily species; the longest Nepenthes plant trap (the epenthes truncata); and the oldest species of plant (the prickly cycad).

Encephalartos altensteinii

Adam Millward, Managing Editor from Guinness World Records says: “It’s been a pleasure recognising some of RBG Kew’s record-breaking plants in recent years. I’ve had the (dubious) honour of smelling the pungent titan arum up close; contended with the steam and sprinklers to measure a prodigious pitcher trap; and put the giant waterlily’s robust pads to the test with a GWR certificate.

“Working closely with Botanic Gardens Conservation International, it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate the entire collection – surely one of the jewels of the botanical world – in the GWR 2022 book.”

Here’s to many more record-breakers in the world of nature, Kew Gardens!

Wellness & Nature