Urban Floras – a contribution to biodiversity

This two day conference with the Botanical Society of Scotland will present a round-up of research on the topic of urban floras and a report of the Botanical Society of Scotland’s Urban Flora project 2015-2023; highlighting the role of urban sites for biodiversity.

It will cover:

  • The physical and chemical environment for plant life in cities. The process of urbanisation as it affects wild-flowers and bryophytes. Plant life on man-made surfaces, urban microclimates and the heat-island effect, atmospheric pollution and hydrological aspects as they affect flooding.
  • Characteristics of the Urban Flora. Patterns and trends seen so far, traits of urban plants, selection pressures and evolution. Data for researchers and students. Relationships with insect life and importance of pollinators.
  • The human dimension – a discussion. Public perceptions of biodiversity in cities, and the influences of cutting, mowing, planting. Policies and practices of Local Authorities.
  • It will end with an open public lecture and discussion on the role of botanic gardens in an urban setting.


Day 1

Session 1: The physical/chemical environment for urban biodiversity

  • The Urban Heat Island and Urban Climate, Sue Grimmond, Professor of Urban Meteorology and Climate, University of Reading
  • Early colonisation of modern building surfaces, Dr. rer. nat. Wolfgang Karl Hofbauer, Chief Scientist, Fraunhofer Institute
  • Auld Reekie to New Reekie – the changing face of air pollution in Scotland, Dr Y Sim Tang, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Multiple benefits provided by Blue-Green Infrastructure, with emphasis on biodiversity, Vladimir Krivtsov, Botanical Society of Scotland

Session 2: Characteristics of the Urban Flora

  • Overview of the Urban Flora of Scotland – What grows in your street? John Grace, University of Edinburgh
  • The Oxford ragwort: an obscure urban native, Professor Simon Hiscock, Oxford University
  • Plant mingling and evolution in urban environments, Richard Abbott, Emeritus Professor, University of St Andrews
  • Bryophytes in an urban environment: a case study from Auld Reekie, Dr David F. Chamberlain, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
  • Public lecture: the role of botanic gardens in an urban setting, Kevin Frediani (Curator of Botanic Garden and Grounds, University of Dundee)

Day 2

Session 3: The human dimension: biodiversity and people

  • Application and pitfalls of the use of Plant ID apps for urban flora and citizen science studies, Hamlyn Jones
  • Disruption – some winners and some losers, Michael Philip, BSBI
  • Turnover and change in the street flora of Cambridge, Dr Chris D. Preston, Cambridge
  • Urban habitats and walls, Brian Ballinger BSS, BSBI
  • Is Green Consciousness a pre-condition for Urbanity? Brian Evans
  • What is ‘plant blindness’ and how does it affect urban biodiversity? Dr Bethan Stagg, Postdoctoral Fellow in Biodiversity Learning
  • Managing Edinburgh’s urban greenspace for pollinators, Isabella Cornwell, University of Edinburgh, Master by Research Student
  • Network methods to monitor ornamental plants – Damien Hicks (University of Edinburgh)
  • Panel, Q&A, discussion & conclusions
See full programme here
In partnership with


Thursday September 21st - Friday September 22nd, 2023


The Royal Society of Edinburgh


Pricing breakdown detailed in booking link