Geographical origins of plants

Gardens and horticultural units, from the tropics to more temperate climates, contain an astonishing variety of plant species from the different continents. Below is a brief selection of well-known plants, grown in Britain, illustrating this diversity of origin. It is salutary, when considering these far-flung places, to reflect on the sophisticated cultures, with skills in plant breeding and a passion for horticulture over the centuries that have taken wild plants and transformed them into the onders that we now see in our gardens.

British Isles; English Oak (Quercus robur), Geranium robertianum, foxglove, peppermint, Pinus sylvestris.

Far East (China and Japan); cherry, cucumber, peach, walnut, Clematis, Forsythia, hollyhock, Azalea, rose.

India and South-East Asia; mustard, radish.

Australasia; Acacia, Helichrysum, Hebe. Africa; Phaseolus, pea, African violet, Strelitzia, Freesia, Gladiolus, Impatiens, Pelargonium, Plumbago.

Mediterranean; asparagus, celery, lettuce, onion, parsnip, rhubarb, carnation, hyacinth, Antirrhinum, sweet pea, Rosemarinus officinalis. Middle East and Central Asia; apple, carrot, garlic, grape, leek, pear, spinach. Northern Europe; cabbage, Campanula, Crocus, forget-me-not, foxglove, pansy, Primula, rose, wallflower, parsley.

North America; Aquilegia, Ceonothus, lupin, Aster, Penstemon, Phlox, sunflower. Central and South America; capsicum, maize, potato, tomato, Fuchsia, nasturtium, Petunia, Verbena.

Non-plant kingdoms

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