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A Confusion of Names

Timothy Walker reveals how the work of Carl Linnaeus, Phillip Miller and John Ray unlocked the mysteries of the plant kingdom and created the science of botany.

What makes plants grow is a simple enough question. The answer turns out to be one of the most complicated and fascinating stories in science and took over 300 years to unravel.

Timothy Walker, director of Oxford University Botanic Garden, reveals how the breakthroughs of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, Chelsea gardener Phillip Miller and English naturalist John Ray created the science of botany. Between them, these quirky, temperamental characters unlocked the mysteries of the plant kingdom, and they began to glimpse a world where bigger, better and stronger plants could be created. Nurseryman Thomas Fairchild created the world's first artificial hybrid flower - an entirely new plant that didn't exist in nature.

Today, botanists continue the search for new flowers, better crops and improved medicines to treat life-threatening diseases.

1 hour

Last on

Thu 16 May 2019 23:15

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Role Contributor
Presenter Timothy Walker
Producer Chris Salt
Series Producer Paul Overton
Series Producer Graeme Thomson