There is now 400 weeks to go until the 400th anniversary of the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens.

With 8,000 different plant species in 18,000 square metres, the Garden is the most compact, yet diverse collection of plants on the planet. The illustration below even shows the Garden’s waterlily house in the background of the original Alice in Wonderland illustrations.

Students on our Oxford summer course can live and breathe in the environment of this famous story

At the Oxford Scholastica Academy, we have selected our top five most interesting plants in the Oxford Botanic Gardens:

  • Euphorbia resinifera – hottest plant at 16 billion scoville units. By comparison an original Tabasco flavour is less than 5,000 units!
  • Black pine – The Lord of the Rings’ J.R.R.Tolkien’s favourite tree
  • Yew tree – oldest tree in the Gardens, planted by the first curator nearly 400 years back
  • Giant Amazonian water lily – if you’re up for a physical challenge, wrestle with the strongest plant on site (actually don’t wrestle with it as you may be escorted off the premises!)
  • Jade vine – the longest plant, so one which you wouldn’t be able to keep in your back garden!

Illustration by Edward Evans (In the public domain)

Photo by Tejvan Photos (CC by 2.0)