Vietnamese trees to be grown in UK

UK garden and greenhouse experts have taken it upon themselves to help save an endangered plant in south-east Asia.

Vietnamese horticulturalists have been trying to reverse the fall in numbers of the Xanthocyparis vietnamensis, which is critically endangered.

However, their efforts have so far been unsuccessful due to a lack of facilities in Vietnam for establishing which seeds are viable, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The species, which numbers just 169 in the wild and was discovered a decade ago, produces only a few useful seeds and scientists have struggled to re-establish numbers.

However, the Forestry Commissions Matt Parratt has brought the first seeds back to the UK, where they will be x-rayed in order to establish which trees produce strong samples.

The information will be passed back to Vietnamese scientists and seeds will be planted at the Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent to help create a population in Britain.

They will also be distributed to botanic gardens around the UK in order to boost numbers and hopefully keep the species in existence.

Meanwhile, the RHS has revealed that British scientists are looking for African and Asian fruit and vegetable seeds that have been adapted for the UK environment in order to preserve them.