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October 14, 2016

Plants: From Roots To Riches – Episode 1 of 25

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Created in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and presented by Kew’s Director of Science, Professor Kathy Willis, this BBC Radio 4 production features unprecedented access to the rich heritage and ongoing work of scientists at one of the world’s oldest botanical institutions.  The 25-part series begins by delving into Kew’s archive and its world-class collections – including the herbarium of over seven million preserved plant specimens – to tell the story of how modern botany was born around the time of Kew’s establishment in 1759. It will go on to examine how subsequent changes in scientific, economic and social preoccupations have influenced our attitudes to plants – from tools to exploit for food, fuel and industry, to objects of beauty, to being an essential global resource that must be conserved.


Episode 1 - A Rose by Any Other Name

The 18th century's age of travel and enlightenment meant that a vast influx of newly discovered plants into Europe was creating a botanical tower of Babel. No common language for plants and a wealth of long and localised names made communication about plant species often impossible. Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus dedicated his life to developing a proper system of naming and placing plants into a new ordered hierarchy.

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