Shelagh McCartan, BSc, MSc, PhD

Seed Scientist

Shelagh McCartan


Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5600
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5683
Fax: +44 (0)1420 23653

Forest Research
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey GU10 4LH

Shelagh McCartan obtained a BSc (Hon) in Botany from Rhodes University, South Africa in 1992; a MSc and PhD in Botany from University of Natal, South Africa in 1994 and 2000 respectively; and then carried out post-doctoral research on the micropropagation and in vitro acclimation of rare plants. She joined Forest Research in 2006 where she is currently employed as a seed scientist in the Centre for Forest Resources and Management.

Current role

Seed Scientist

Current programmes

Seed and seedling biology
Seed Scientist

Research areas

  • Seed testing
  • Seed technology
  • Seed provenance and climate change
  • Ex situ conservation.

Main recent publications

Shelagh A. McCartan and Richard L. Jinks (2015) Upgrading Seed Lots of European Silver Fir (Abies alba Mill.) Using Imbibition-Drying-Separation. Tree Planters' Notes 58(2): 21-27.

Midmore, E. K., McCartan, S. A., Jinks, R. L. & Cahalan, C. M. (2015). Using thermal time models to predict germination of five provenances of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in southern England. Silva Fennica vol. 49(2): 1-12.

McCartan, S.A., Jinks, R.L. & Barsoum, N. (2015) Using thermal time models to predict the impact of assisted migration on the synchronization of germination and shoot emergence of oak (Quercus robur L.). Annals of Forest Science 72:479–487. DOI 10.1007/s13595-014-0454-5

Gosling, P.G., McCartan, S.A. & Peace, A.J. (2009). Seed dormancy and germination characteristics of common alder (Alnus glutinosa L.) indicate some potential to adapt to climate change in Britain. Forestry 82:573-582.

Gosling, P.G., McCartan, S.A., Ives, L.M., Cunningham, V.J., Squirrell, J. & Thomas, P. (2008).  Preliminary observations on fruit handling, seed germination and chloroplast inheritance of an Amentotaxus hybrid arising at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from A. argotaenia (F) x A. formosana (M).  Sibbaldia 6:101-115.

Gosling, P.G. & McCartan, S.A. (2006). Seed dormancy in a nutshell! Canadian Tree Improvement Association, Tree Seed Newsbulletin 44, 3 - 6.

McCartan S.A., Beckett R.P & van Staden J. (2005). In vitro hardening — the role of supra-optimal sucrose on acclimation stress in Kniphofia leucocephala. S. Afr. J. Bot. 71: 107–109

McCartan S.A., Beckett R.P., Ivanova M.V. & van Staden J. (2004). In vitro hardening – the role of ventilation on acclimation stress in Kniphofia leucocephala. Plant Growth Regulation 43: 49-55

McCartan S.A., Ramarosandratana A.V. & van Staden J. (2004). In vitro germination and propagation of the ornamental restio, Ischryolepis subverticillata. S. Afr. J. Bot. 70: 326-328

McCartan S.A. & van Staden J. (2003). Micropropagation of the endangered Kniphofia leucocephala Baijnath. In vitro Biology – Plant 39: 496-499

McCartan S.A. & van Staden J. (2002). Micropropagation of Scilla kraussii and Scilla dracomontana. S. Afr. J. Bot. 68: 223-225

McCartan S.A., Crouch N. R. & Krynauw S. (1999). Micropropagation of the naturally rare pineapple lily, Eucomis vandermerwei. J. S. Afr. Soc. Hort. Sci.  9: 33-35

Crouch N.R., Brunkhorst M. & McCartan S.A. (1999). Micropropagation of Scilla nervosa (Hyacinthaceae), a southern African medicinal bulb. S. Afr. J. Bot. 65: 306-307

McCartan S.A. & van Staden J. (1999). Micropropagation of members of the Hyacinthaceae with medicinal and ornamental potential - a review.  S. Afr. J. Bot. 65 361-369

McCartan S.A., Gillmer J.M. & Symmonds R.J. (1999). The effect of propagule size, density and soil type on yield in wild ginger (Siphonochilus aethiopicus (Schweinf.) B.L. Burtt).  J. S. Afr. Soc. Hort. Sci.   9: 29-32

McCartan S.A & Gillmer M. (1999). In vitro propagation: principles, practices and potential for the conservation of indigenous plants. Veld & Flora June.

McCartan S.A. & van Staden J. (1998). Micropropagation of the medicinal plant, Scilla natalensis Planch.  Plant Growth Reg. 25: 177-180

McCartan S.A. & Crouch N.R. (1998). In vitro culture of Mondia whitei (Hook f.) Skeels (Periplocaceae), a threatened Zulu medicinal plant. S. Afr. J. Bot. 64: 313-314  

McCartan S.A., van Staden J. & Finnie J.F. (1996). In vitro propagation of taro (Colocasia esculenta).  J. S. Afr. Soc. Hort. Sci. 6:1-3

McCartan S.A. & van Staden J. (1995). In vitro propagation of the medicinal plant, Eucomis poleevansii N.E. Brown. J. S. Afr. Soc. Hort. Sci. 5:73-75.