Thursday, 13 March 2014



Dear Fernando,

Thanks so much for getting in touch with us. As we said, we really do appreciate your passion and concern, I spoke with our Director of Horticulture Richard Barley this morning and he emailed over the following:

“Sadly the Jubaea chilensis specimen in Kew’s Temperate House was senescing, and nearing the end of its natural life. Generations of horticulturists at Kew have lovingly nurtured this palm since 1846, however recent examinations revealed it to be in serious decline. As it had been grown in the artificial and protected environment of the Temperate House, transplanting it outdoors would not have been a viable option.

“We understand that this palm became one of Kew’s icons and meant a lot to our visitors, and we have successfully preserved its legacy through propagation. We are very pleased to announce that we have healthy Jubaea chilensis seedlings growing behind the scenes that will take their rightful place in the newly refurbished Temperate House when it opens in 2018.

“The care of the Temperate House’s world renowned plant collection has been our priority while preparing for the restoration project.”

In the future please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want any further information on Kew (

Kind regards,
  1. Dear Kew Gardens,

    Thank you for your prompt response.

    I am intrigued by Richard Barley’s statement that the Chilean palm was ‘senescing, and nearing the end of its natural life.’

    It seems a curious assertion since no one really knows how long these plants live for. Many have lived for several hundred years in their native habitat.

    Kew’s treasures are not strictly speaking Kew’s property - it is not just a technical decision (or a cost benefit assessment) what specimens are nurtured or destroyed. You are merely the keepers, for and on behalf of the public, of invaluable natural assets. You are not beyond public accountability, and quite rightly so.

    I am grateful for your interest, and I thank you for your appreciation of ‘my passion and concern’. I take it as a compliment, and not as a patronising statement of any sort.

    Thank you again.

    With my best wishes,



  1. No quiero que se me malinterprete, ni que parezca una broma Fernando…pero me parece increíble que Richard Bradly se tome el robo del nenúfar enano de Uganda poco menos que una cuestión de estado y declare que la desaparición haya traído consigo el desánimo moral para la plantilla de conservadores y jardineros del Kew Gardens, y por otro quite le quite importancia a la palmera chilena alegando que su tiempo vital haya llegando a su fin si como tú dices no se sabe cuánto viven estas…no sé…parece que el criterio cambia en función de las necesidades del momento. En mi opinión la palmera molestaba para hacer la restauración del invernadero y han optado por la opción más fácil.

  2. Fernando ojala tuviéramos unos cuantos como tu en Valencia...