Scotland’s heritage of naturalised medicinal plants


  • Michael E. Braithwaite



archaeophyte, neophyte, Edinburgh Physic Garden, James Sutherland, Robert Sibbald



Although much has been written about Scottish plants, there has been no Flora of Scotland as such since Hooker’s Flora Scotica of 1821. Instead British Floras and distribution Atlases have been published. When BSBI’s New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora was published in 2002, introduced plants were subdivided into archaeophytes and neophytes for Britain as a whole, but British natives that were considered to be introductions in Scotland were not subdivided. As a result the specifically Scottish archaeophyte heritage has been neglected. Taken together, Sutherland’s Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis 1683 and Sibbald’s Scotia Illustrata 1684 provide a baseline from which to investigate the history of many species now considered to be naturalised introductions in Scotland. This has enabled them to be divided between archaeophytes and neophytes giving perspective to their heritage, particularly that of former medicinal plants. A table of such species is presented with detailed comment.