Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Plant Acquisition Policy
The Roger Williams Park Botanical Center offers a wide variety of plants collections. Palms, Cacti, oranges, banana and other small herbaceous plants are found throughout the Conservatory. The purpose of our Living Collections is to encourage people to connect with nature, gain a better appreciation for how plants contribute to daily life and bring inspiration and a sense of overall well-being to our visitors. They also serve to support our educational goals and scientific studies. The plants in our collection are essential to achieving these goals. In order to assure that our collections stay diversified, and meet the RWP Botanical Center mission, we have created the following acquisition policy.
The Policy acts to guide the development, acquisition, management, documentation, and enhancement of the Center’s living collections. Our Living Collections Policy is a working document designed to integrate the activities of our gardens and should be revised accordingly and modified as needed by RWP Botanical Center Director, staff, and management.
The term living collection is used for all plants that reside within the domains of the RWP Botanical Center.
Selection Criteria and scope of our Collection
The following criteria have been developed in order to support and promote the Center’s goals, mission, and activities. Our collections are as follows:
- Ethnobotanical Relevance: Plants are to have an ethnobotanical and/or educational value; when acquiring new plantings, such plants should be given the highest priority. Ethnobotanical and/or educational valued plants are intrinsic to our core mission and are to receive the greatest focus with respect to their acquisition.
- Conservation: Plants in our collections might have a historic or native value that further enhances our visitor’s understanding of the significant role plants have in everyday lives.
- Aesthetic and biodiverse plantings: Due to the unique nature of our gardens, and the goal to bring inspiration and a sense of well-being, it is recognized that some plants will have a landscape value important to the overall appearance and sensibility of the Conservatory and/or display gardens.
- Edibility Relevance: Plants that are considered edible to use for agronomic purposes, cuisine and other culturally important culinary experiences have purpose and relevance in supporting our goal to garner an understanding of plants in everyday life
By adhering to the above criteria, our collections shall remain of great interest for both educational and display purposes, yet specific enough to remain faithful to our mission. In addition to the above selection criteria, all accessioned plans shall meet the following guidelines:
- Selections should have a reasonable chance of succeeding in our collections.
- Plants must be non-invasive and unlikely to become invasive threats to the native habitat surrounding the RWP Botanical Center Gardens and Roger Williams Park.
- Plants should be incorporated into the collections in an aesthetically pleasing manner consistent with our overall interior/exterior landscape design.
- Plants should be maintained following exemplary horticultural practices. Plants must be free of insect pests, diseases and in good horticulture health
Plants and plant parts will be acquired in accordance with the selection criteria stated above and may be acquired by the RWP Botanical Center from the following sources:
- Purchases: The staff, with an approval of the RWP Botanical Center Director, may make purchases in accordance with our selection criteria.
- Exchanges: the exchange of living plants and plant parts with other garden and institutions is encouraged, subject to the approval of the RWP Botanical Center Director.
- Donations: Donations are welcome if they meet at least on of our criteria, are needed and are given without restrictions placed by the donor. All donated plants or plant parts are subject to approval by the Director who has the right to refuse, remove, donate and/or dispose of any donations.
Since the deaccessioning of a plant may involve some controversy, it requires approval by the RWP Director. Generally, a plant is deaccessioned if it is:
- No longer relevant to the purpose of the gardens
- Undesirably toxic or otherwise dangerous
- A potential invasive species in the State of Rhode Island
If you believe you have a plant that will support the Center’s mission, please email a picture of the plant with a description of the plant and location (if delivery is not possible) to us at .