Plant Collections of Rifleman John Divers

Richmond's First World War

During their First World War research, Dr James Wearn and Andrew Budden at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, discovered plant specimens gathered from close to the River Thames in the environs of Richmond and Twickenham. This is not notable in itself, but their re-discovery in Kew’s Herbarium (of upwards of 7 million preserved specimens) suddenly gains poignancy through their collector – former Kew gardener John Divers, who was (and still is) missing on the Somme. These carefully dried, pressed plants are a very moving local material link with this infamous battle, and were collected just four years before John was killed.

Divers, K000773536 Dianthus from Twickenham (July 1912)Dianthus deltoides, Twickenham July 1912

The specimens shown here are Glechoma hederacea (‘ground ivy’) collected in April 1912 from the bank of the River Thames [near Richmond] (accession K001189122) and Dianthus deltoides (‘maiden pink’) collected in July 1912 at Twickenham (accession K000773536). Both sheets bear the

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