Endangered plants from Vietnam find new life near Stranraer

A Dumfries and Galloway garden is playing host to a range of plants from throughout the world.

Staff at Logan Botanical Garden in Dumfries and Galloway have just returned from an expedition in the mountains in Vietnam.

They were in the mountains near Hanoi to bring back endangered species to a new home just outside Stranraer. They say their efforts are vital to ensure that very rare plants have a chance of survival.

Richard Baines, curator, said: “When you ask most people, we know what the climate of Vietnam is, but it is also tropical and subtropical, that the areas above 2000 meters are very temperate. And so things like rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias, all these sort of things, thrive and above 2000 meters the actual climate is very similar to that at Logan. And so that's why, for example, the plants do so well here.

“So in total we've made 324 collections. So there's a lot of information out which is really useful. If we don't go out there now and collect seed from these specimens many of these specimens in the near term future will disappear."

Richard explains how plats can survive in Vietnam and Stranraer. Credit: ITV

The garden, which is like a museum of plant-life from around the world, has recently gained some new samples from their latest expedition to northern Vietnam.

Richard added: "For example, in 2014 we identified ten different species of rhododendrons. We went back in 2019 saw three different species of rhododendrons. In 2023, all the rhododendrons had disappeared. Expansion of agriculture has been growing the local economy.

"You know, when I went I saw local children scavenging on the refuse to make money. Now at least they've got employment. You know, I think the challenge for us is to as a compromise to work with local people to try and help secure the long term future of these species.

“If only it was a walk in the park. You know, a lot of these mountains are very treacherous. That is steep, arduous. You know, you see lots of creepy, crawly, stinging caterpillars as different leeches, you know, cling on to you every time you cross a river or fall from the trees.

"You have vipers which try and make your way through to your tent at night sometimes. And, you know, the weather can be really torrential rain. There's many things, but you just need to be positive and fight. And at the end of the day, if you can secure the future of the plant species, it's worth it."

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