Audio by David Mitchell from 2005
The temperate palm house was built in 1858 by Robert Matheson and funded with a grant of £6,000 from UK Parliament. At 21.95m (72ft) tall this is the tallest glasshouse in the UK, and is one of the tallest classic palm houses in the world. It is the most iconic of RBGEs buildings, with its grand arched windows and elegant interior of cast iron pillars that mirror the structure of the palms it houses.
The plants on display in this house will give you a taste of some of the collections which are housed in the other glasshouses.
The predominant plantings of Ferns & Palms complement the Victorian idea for the display, although ours are planted in the ground rather than maintained in pots as they did from 1713 to 1890.
The display showcases some of the diversity of palms, many of which are threatened by development. They provide a large number of products including panama hats and coconut. You can see a range of different leaf shapes, trunk structures and flowers from a wide range of palm species.
The large stone benches along the front of this palm house are used for temporary displays of plants, this includes plants which aren’t always on public view, as they form part of the research collection.
Keep an eye out for the banana by the entrance and the many begonias that thrive in shade of the Palms & Tree Ferns.
When the Palm House was emptied for re-landscaping in 2004 some of the trees where recycled into the amazing desk where tickets to view the other 9 Glasshouse can be purchased.