It IS time for rare rhododendrons to strike their roots in the native soil nearly a Century after they were sown on foreign soil by a British botanist, Ernest Wilson (1876-1930). 1 lie Royal Botanic Garden. Edinburgh, Scotland, is organising the project under which more than 200 rare and endangered rhododendrons would be shipped back to China, with in and to Conserve Species Under threat from China's development and rising population. Many of these plants were coIlected by Wilson during his four expeditions to China. At that time, these rare plants were safe from human threats. Increasing population and the development of roads are leading to the exploitation of remote areas for crop growing and grazing of sheep, cattle and yak. Grazing brings about Such ecological changes that the natural regeneration of rhododendrons cannot take place.

The rhododendrons are being nurtured for three years in Edinburgh and will be flown back to China for plant-breeding programme.