George Forrest, dubbed “Scotland’s Indiana Jones of the plant world”, will be highlighted at this year’s Botanic Lights festival at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
The Falkirk-born adventurer was a clerk at RBGE in 1904 when he answered an advert looking for “a young man well up in hardy plants to go out to the East and collect”. In his first expedition to the Yunnan province of China, his entire team was massacred by warrior priests.
The sole survivor, he escaped after a local tribe spirited him to Tibet in disguise to dodge hunting parties.
Despite his experience, Forrest returned six times to collect thousands of plants, herbarium specimens and seeds, and catalogue previously unknown species. More than 50 original Forrest introductions and their descendants can still be seen growing at RBGE.
October’s Botanic Lights event will have “exploration” as its theme.
A trail of light projections, lasers and fire will guide as thousands of visitors in the footsteps of the original Victorian plant hunters and their modern contemporaries.