The Wardian Case by Luke Keogh

The Wardian Case by Luke Keogh

Author:Luke Keogh [Keogh, Luke]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: SCI000000 Science / General
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Published: 2020-11-17T00:00:00+00:00

The Plant Books, 1842–1865

The Wardian case was indiscriminate in moving plants; it carried whatever was planted. Plants arriving in Wardian cases satisfied both botanists in imperial centers and the floristic ambitions of settler societies. To follow the Wardian case is to follow a fragmented historical record—fleeting notations on how plants were moved. Botanical gardens commonly recorded details regarding the transport of plants themselves—the plant, the shipper and/or receiver, and the place—but rarely the means of transport.

The reason for this is quite simple: utilization of the Wardian case was so widespread that it did not seem remarkable in any way. Furthermore, once a certain manner of record keeping began, it was followed for decades. But there is one location where the movements of Wardian cases were recorded consistently—Kew Gardens. Over a period of two centuries the Goods Inwards/Outwards Books, as they are called, recorded the comings and goings of Kew’s plants (fig. 8.1). In 1838 they show the first four Wardian cases being sent from Kew to the new colony in Western Australia (see chapter 3). From that point on the greenhouse keepers kept detailed records of the movements of Wardian cases—some of the few available showing how plants were moved in them.6


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