The Bristol Chinese Herb Garden was started in 2000 as a partnership between the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.
With the move of the University Botanic Garden in 2006, an opportunity was taken to greatly enlarge the size and scope of the Chinese Herb Garden. It is still under development and you can see these changes by monitoring our "News from the garden" page, which will be updated every season.
The Chinese Herb Garden aims to provide a comprehensive living collection of plants used in Chinese Herbal medicine. These are to be employed in teaching of herbal students and for research by the University and the herbal profession into the cultivation and chemistry of the plants.
The garden is affiliated to several University and Botanic gardens in China which assist with information, especially with respect to our conservation programme.
Currently the garden is divided into several regions which reflect current interests.
Use class teaching garden
These plants are divided into ‘use class' categories along the lines of traditional Chinese herbal medicine use. This area is designed for colleges of Chinese herbal medicine as a teaching aid.
This display will highlight some of the plants which are currently under threat due to overuse and habitat loss. A separate section for endangered Himalayan herbs is planned in this area.
Several research projects are in progress. These are currently connected with the comparison of Chinese and European species in the same genus. We are also investigating the adulteration of herbs (notably mu tong and fang ji) and their potential for cultivation in the UK to resolve this problem.
A variety of peony cultivars from
the species of Peony suffructicosa, Peony vetchii, Peony obovata and Peony lactiflora will be used to illustrate flower and chemical comparisons. These species are important Chinese herb plants but there is also a conservation message as wild Peonies are in need of conservation.
Ferns in Medicine
Ferns have a role to play in Chinese medicine and as ‘famine foods', but they also create an interesting collection which can be used to promote the use of this family in medicine on a wider stage.
The outdoor display is being extended into tropical habitats in the glasshouse displays. This will included many important plants used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It is planned to have a collection of Nelumbo nucifera (lotus) cultivars.
The existing European Herb Garden provides
more facilities for herbal teaching and research potential.
Combined with the course rooms on site, we are developing
an advanced herbal research and teaching centre using the
combined expertise of the University of Bristol and the herbal