Crossrail Place’s Roof Garden brings a whole new aspect for Wharfers, but there’s more than first meets the eye to this green space.

The plants being from the East and West of the hemisphere is down to the fact that Crossrail Place sits virtually on the Prime Meridian dividing the eastern and western hemispheres.

We thought we would delve a little deeper to find out more about Canary Wharf’s rich import history and the plants that were shipped from all around the world into the docks.

The late 18th and 19th century saw increasing exploration of unknown areas, with previously unknown specimen plants being introduced as explorers collected them on their travels.

Certain expeditions by plant hunters were sponsored by scientific establishments such as Kew Gardens and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) whilst others were for commercial reasons.


The most common imports were sugar, coffee and bananas - search for the plants in the garden that you can see below, then how about head to Lola’s Cupcakes for a banana cup cake (£2.95 reg or £1.55 tiny), get another sugar fix at Krispy Kreme with an original glazed doughnut (£8.95 for a dozen) or a coffee from Pret - starting as low as 99p.

Plants from the West

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The exotic cargoes from the east included tea, silk and spices - again, have a look at the eastern plants to find in the rooftop garden in the picture below and then have a hunt around the mall.

Whittard’s herbal chai caffeine-free infusion (£6) is great tea to try, or drape yourself in the thoroughly luxurious Paul Smith stripe square silk scarf (£199), Finish off your mall trail with a delicious spicy treat from new Chai Ki at Crossrail Place.

Plants from the East

Click here to see a larger version.

Fascinating plant facts

  • Did you know the banana tree is not a tree at all, but the largest herb plant - its ‘trunk’ is also made up of tightly overlapping leaves instead of bark
  • Sugar cane is a relative of ordinary grass
  • The world’s oldest cultivated tea tree is more than 3,200 years old and is found in Yunnan province in south-west China