19 From Tubs to Flying Boats: Episodes in Transporting Living Plants

in Naturalists in the Field
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Transferring plants from place to place by gathering and transporting seeds is a timeless process. It is much more difficult to transplant living plants from their natural habitat to another locality, especially when it is necessary to cross an ocean. Evidence from Ancient Egypt shows that plants were moved substantial distances by ship around 3,500 years ago, but saturation of the soil in which such plants were growing by seawater was usually fatal. In the nineteenth century the portable Wardian case transformed the process from one of almost inevitable failure to one of remarkable success. More recently mechanized vehicles greatly shortened journey times – especially after the 1930s, when aircraft were first used to move plants.


Naturalists in the Field

Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century

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