An update on the 2015 Review

What is the 2015 Review?
Over time the requirements of the National Plant Collections Scheme have changed. This means that the older Collections were assessed differently when they joined, and which can be unfair to new applicants. In addition, many Collections have changed in composition over the years. This has sometimes caused confusion for visitors, members and the press, as the content of the collection did not necessarily correspond to what that was advertised. In order to make sure that all the Collections were of a comparable standard, the Plant Conservation Committee decided that National Collections should all be reviewed in 2015.

Over the year, I have been visiting a number of National Collections, attended many meetings and been in touch with many of you, as have our local Collections Coordinators.
I am pleased to say that the Review is now over 50% complete. However, this means that there is still a fair amount of work to cover in 2016.

  • One of the requirements of National Collection status is to provide Plant Heritage with a plant list at least every five years. However, we do hold out-of-date records for a number of collections. If you are reading this message and have not sent one in a while, we would be very grateful for an update, even if there has not been much change to your collection.
  • Around a quarter of collections will need to have their title or scope amended. This is not necessarily a negative thing! Reducing the scope can make a collection more manageable and therefore safer in the long term. It can also help distinguish a collection from similar ones by giving it a more precise focus. By contrast, some collections have seen their scope widen because many plants have been added over the years.
  • Finally, some Collections will also require improvements to their plant lists, such as the addition of accession numbers.


Progress on the 2015 Review – November 2015

The Review has also given us additional information on National Collections, which should hopefully help us to better understand your needs. For example, we know now that 60% of Collection Holders use a spreadsheet software such as Excel as method of recording for their plant lists, with the second most popular method being text software such as Word (30%).

I will be in touch with a more detailed mailing in January, with information on Collections categories. In the meantime, thank you very much for the great conservation work you do as National Collection Holders. If you have any questions, requests for help or advice, feel free to send me an email at

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