I planned to use the title ‘Acronyms are us’ for this blog, but on checking, realised that strictly speaking an acronym is an abbreviation of several words in such a way that the abbreviation itself forms a pronounceable word. So NCCPG certainly doesn’t qualify, nor do NCH, NPC, HCPFS, PHJ, TPP or PCC all ‘initialisms’ frequently used by us in National Office. But today I want to elaborate about the last one in this list, PCC.
Before I joined Plant Heritage, or NCCPG as it was then, PCC meant to me and probably most of you, Parochial Church Council, or maybe Press Complaints Council. Now that I have learned the language it means Plant Conservation Committee, that august body of experts who meet four times a year to consider applications for National Plant Collection® (NPC) status along with conservation issues which contribute to the strategic direction of the organisation.
Applications for a NPC are initially brought together by the applicant, potential National Collection Holder (NCH), and their local coordinator, a volunteer from the local group who helps with the application process and writes an evaluation of the potential collection. This application is submitted to National Office (NO) along with an accession list which details all the plants in the collection, where they came from, when they were acquired, where they are planted and most importantly their individual and unique identification number, their accession number. If the collection contains 75% or more of the plants available for that genus or part genus, usually as listed in the RHS Plant Finder , then the list is sent out to expert referees for comment. Once these references have been received the application paperwork is compiled and goes to the next meeting where a collection can be awarded Full status, Provisional status, often for a collection of young plants, or the application can be deferred pending more information. Once NPC status is awarded changes can be made if circumstances change, e.g. the plants are being moved, then the collection would be made Transitional.
At the November meeting as well as the regular application items, there was lengthy discussion on the changes to GSPC, Target 9 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets Target 13 and how Plant Heritage should be working with BGCI and CBD. Kalani Seymour updated us on the Threatened Plants Project (TPP) and we heard reports from regional coordinators about changes and challenges to the existing collections in their areas.
I didn’t line up the committee for a mug shot, but took some pictures of the wonderful meeting room facilities near Kings Cross, made available to us by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation who have todate, funded the TPP project. Although we love our offices at Loseley Park, with the back wall of the office being one of the boundaries of the Walled Garden, it is good to get out and see the rest of the world.
PHJ, Plant Heritage Journal. HCPFS, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show