Kew at the British Museum - North American Landscape

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the British Museum have teamed up tol create a North American-landscape on the Museum’s west lawn. The garden will focus on eastern and central North America, from Florida in the south to New England and Canada in the north. North America hosts a large percentage of the world’s broadleaf forests, temperate grasslands and Mediterranean-climate vegetation.

The North American Landscape will take the visitor through the North American continent showing unusual as well as a selection of rare plants from its various climates, and showcasing its rich biodiversity as well as contextual information on exploration, plant discoveries by Europeans and introduction into the UK, plant uses and threats, and indigenous themes.

Examples include sweet grass (Hierchloe odorata) that is used as incense because of its vanilla scent and is sacred to many of the indigenous Peoples of North America, who believe smoke from burning dried sweet grass welcomes in good spirits. Many of the grasses’ natural habitats of wet meadows, lake-shores, stream banks and low prairies have been lost and in Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina sweet grass is now endangered. The orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida) is a member of the daisy family and is a prairie wildflower that thrives in open woods, meadows and pastures. The species was first described in England in 1789 by William Aiton the first curator of Kew Gardens in his catalogue of plants cultivated at Kew. Loss of habitat means this species is now endangered in New Jersey.

10 May – 25 November 2012: British Museum Forecourt: Admission free
See the website for more information.


  1. What a fascinating post. And a warning to us colonists that we should be taking better care of our native heritage.

  2. I think all nations need to work on the heritage we have, the introduction of non-natives can cause all sorts of problems, here and else where.


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