Welcome to the plant database
The RCP garden of medicinal plants is unique in that almost every one of the over 1000 species of plant here has a link to medicine. It may be a herb with a long history of use in folk tradition; it may have provided the model for a pharmaceutical drug; it may be a fibre plant used to make bandages or its botanical name may commemorate a Physician and honour a contribution to science. The myriad stories they tell come from diverse cultures, different countries and from every age in recorded history.
The garden, which was redesigned in 2005, surrounds the Grade 1 listed building designed by Denys Lasdun and it reflects both the RCP's contemporary role and its more than 500 year history. The striking building is both a meeting place for Fellows and Members and an important conference centre, while the garden provides a peaceful and attractive outside space for the use of employees and other visitors. It is also an educational resource in its own right with numerous horticultural and other special interest groups being welcomed throughout the year by the Garden Fellows Dr Angela Barnicoat, Dr Sue Burge, Dr Timothy Cutler, Prof Anthony Dayan, Dr Arjun Devanesan, Prof Graham Foster, Dr George Huntington, Dr Henry Oakeley, Prof John Newton, Dr Noel Snell and Prof Michael de Swiet. The garden is looked after by Head Gardener Jane Knowles and Assistant Gardeners and Plant Records Officers Angela Tunstall and Florence Duncan Antoine. They are supported by several volunteers.
This database is a list of plants currently or previously grown in the garden. For each of these plants it holds images and basic information such as name, geographical distribution and reason for growing here. Some include further details on their uses.
The garden of medicinal plants and the database are intended to offer an overview of the history of medicinal plants and their uses. Many of the plants grown and described here are highly toxic and may cause severe allergic reactions or serious poisoning. The Royal College of Physicians strongly advise against self- diagnosis or treatment and recommends that a medical professional is always consulted.
Find out more
With over a thousand specimens in The Garden of Medicinal Plants’ collection, there is a great deal more information on offer on our database. Please click on the following link to hear the Garden Fellows and gardeners talking about the plants in a podcast: Garden podcasts
Follow us on Instagram @rcp_garden
Please click on the following links to see videos about some of our plants:
- by Garden Fellows: Plants in medicine
- by the Head Gardener: Life in the garden
Please follow this link for books produced by the RCP garden team, including our new publication Modern medicines from plants growing in the RCP garden
Visitors to the Medicinal Garden are welcome between the hours of 9am and 5pm on weekdays, as individuals or in small groups of up to 5 people.
Please note that the garden is occasionally booked for private functions and will not be open to the public on these occasions.
Guided tours (booking essential)
Open tours of the Medicinal Garden are given by senior physicians from the RCP on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm (April–October).
To book, please call: Tel: +44(0)20 3075 1649 (ask for reception)
For organised groups of 6 people or more, tours can also be arranged on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between the hours of 11am and 3.30pm
To enquire about bookings, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Garden tour’
No charge is made for any of these tours; however, donations towards the Garden’s upkeep are gratefully received.
Medicinal Garden lecture series 2023
30th May 2pm to 5pm in-person or online
- 2pm-3pm - ‘Finding drugs in the garden: identifying potential medicines from plants’ - Speaker: Professor Anne Osbourn OBE FRS NAS
- 3pm-4pm – refreshments and garden tours
- 4pm-5pm – ‘Mr Nicholas Culpeper: The lay 'herbalist' who fueled a revolution in early modern medicine’ - Speaker: Professor Michael Farthing
in person - https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/medicinal-plant-lectures-2023-may-person
online - https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/medicinal-plant-lectures-2023-may-online
24th July 2pm to 5pmin-person or online
- 2pm-3pm – ‘The medicinal beds in Oxford Botanic Garden: 400 years of "physick, mucke and dunge"’ - Speaker: Dr Susan Burge OBE
- 3pm-4pm – refreshments and garden tours
- 4pm-5pm – ‘350 years of the Chelsea Physic Garden, London's oldest outdoor classroom’ - Speaker: Dr Timothy Cutler
Details to follow
Garden open days for charity 2023
The Garden will be open for London Open Gardens on Saturday 10th June 2023 from 10am to 4pm.
Tickets cost £20 for the weekend and grant entry to many other London gardens taking part in the event.
For details please visit https://londongardenstrust.org
The Garden will be open for the National Garden Scheme charity on 10th July 2023 from 12 noon to 4pm.
Tickets cost £5 and can be pre booked via the NGS website.
Guided tours will be offered throughout the day on both occasions
All images © Dr H.F.Oakeley. For reproduction please send an email to email@example.com
For enquiries about the garden and/or database, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to cite us, The Royal College of Physicians’ Garden of Medicinal Plants at http://garden.rcplondon.ac.uk/