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Plants: From Roots to Riches

  • Cones of Encephalartos altensteinii
    From Episode 1 Encephalartos altensteinii, one of the world's oldest pot plants
  • Director of Kew Gardens and passionate plant collector who introduced many exotic species we now regard as common garden plants
    From Episode 2 Joseph Banks, the plant collector who brought us some of our favourite garden plants
  • Plant family tree video
    From Episode 3 Video: The Plant Family Tree
  • Amanita muscaria Fly Agaric
    From Episode 4 Video: Fungi, the mysterious organisms supporting our ecosystems

BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a new 25-part series about the relationship between people and plants over the last 250 years. This major new partnership between the BBC and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will tell the story of botany and plant science at Kew Gardens.

Presented by Kew's Director of Science, Professor Kathy Willis, the series features stories from Kew's rich heritage, starting with the early botanists and plant hunters whose pioneering work storing and categorising plants established botany as an important scientific discipline. Later episodes will show how Kew continues to lead the way in modern day plant science throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Featuring interviews with Kew scientists, and delving into Kew’s unique archives, the series will bring the story up to date by exploring key contemporary scientific advances such as the use of DNA testing in plant classification.

Plants: From Roots to Riches on Radio 4

See galleries from the series and listen to archive programmes

Plants from Roots to Riches, Radio 4 logo

Go to the Radio 4 site

Episode 25: The Great Providers

The world’s most famous botanic garden

Come and see our historic glasshouses, rare and beautiful plants, and inspring botanical art galleries.

A summer meadow in mauve and yellow

'Plants: From Roots to Riches' Book

Based on the Radio 4 series. Kathy Willis and Carolyn Fry take us from the birth of botany right through to modern day plant science.

Plants: From Roots to Riches, a landmark Radio 4 series

More from Kew

Fungi Kingdom

Discover the diversity and importance of fungi.

Amanita muscaria Fly Agaric
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Millennium Seed Bank

Find out more about our vital work saving seeds.

Visitors in the Millennium Seed Bank Exhibition

Research & data

Explore Kew's science teams, databases and publications.

Montage of scientific activity

Species browser

Search Kew's detailed plant & fungi profiles.

Pink flower of the Madagascar periwinkle
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