The history of man’s relationship with plants is to be revealed through a major new BBC Radio 4 series this summer.


Called Plants: From Roots to Riches, the 25-part series will take listeners back to Carl Linnaeus and the birth of modern botany – right though to modern day plant science.

Set to run daily at 1.45pm from 21 July, the series will be presented by Kew Gardens’ director of science, Professor Kathy Willis.

The first programme will open by featuring Kew’s oldest resident, the palm-like cycad Encephalartos altensteinii (below), that was brought to the gardens in 1775.

Other stories include the race between Kew and Chatsworth House to be first to get a giant Amazonian water-lily to flower.

Presenter Prof Kathy Willis said: “I hope this series will encourage listeners to look at plants in a new light.

“Our future depends on us adapting in order to live in better balance with the natural world, and plants have some of the answers to help us do that, and address global challenges that we are faced with.”

Controller of Radio 4 Gwyneth Williams said: “This series will mix the latest scientific thinking with historical analysis to capture the fascination and magic of plants, and our relationship with them down the ages.”

A new book will accompany the series.

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