Gardeners with maples doing their bit for conservation

New research has shown that a number of varieties of maple tree are in danger of becoming extinct in the wild.

While the trees are popular among UK garden and greenhouse lovers, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) revealed that a joint study carried out by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and Flora & Fauna International showed a heightened risk for many of the species.

Much of the danger is caused by agriculture and development encroaching on the trees natural habitat in China.

As many as a third of species could be facing extinction if current patterns continue, the data showed.

Examples include the Acer griseum, which is commonly grown in UK gardens but is on the red list due to factors in China.

"The good news is that while many species are threatened in the wild, some of these species are common in cultivation, BGCI secretary-general Sara Oldfield explained.

However, one of the closest to extinction is the Acer yagbeinse – with just four known trees remaining in the wild.

In other news, Primula scotica – a tiny Scottish primrose – is in decline due to changed grazing patterns, the RHS revealed.