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The World of Kew
(Ebury Publishing) ISBN 056349378X 978-0563493785

The World of Kew brings readers behind-the-scenes at Kew Gardens to learn about the seed bank, plant propagation to prevent extinction, forensic botany to solve crimes and plant research to cure diseases. The book chronicles the history of Kew from a royal garden in the early 1700s to the global impact of today's scientific organization.

Readers continually think: 'I didn't know that!' as they read this historical and current behind-the-scenes views of Kew Gardens. Stories and quotes about items in Kew's archives, compost heaps, historical buildings, grass and exotic flowers are informative and fascinating.

This book will appeal to gardeners, conservationists, historians, economists, botanists and anyone interested in Britain.

Full color images, historical black and white images and drawings illustrate most pages.

The Planet Kew chapter describes Kew Garden's role in global conservation, with its seed bank, education and scientific research. Kew collaborates with botanists in countries like Cameroon (West Africa) to discover new species and document plant diversity.

The Millennium Seed Bank preserves threatened species of wild flora to save habitats from human impact, climate change and natural disasters. On the volcanic island of Montserrat, for example, activities include biodiversity assessments, flora gathering, and a herbarium, cultivation and recovery plan.

Plants built the British Empire. In the mid-1800s, sample seedlings, collected from around the world, were sent to Kew Gardens to be cultivated and re-exported to colonies.

Tea was sent to Jamaica, mahogany, cork oak and cinchona (source of quinine, an anti-malarial drug) to India, tobacco to Natal, South Africa, Amazon rubber to Ceylon and coffee to the East and West Indies. Increased trade and imports of raw materials from the British colonies created economic success.

The World of Kew


  1. Creating Kew
  2. Growing Remedies
  3. Fighting Crime
  4. Kew UK
  5. Planet Kew
  6. Wild Work
  7. Grand Designs
  8. Sustainable Kew
  9. Future Gardeners


Carolyn Fry is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and former editor of the Society's publication, Geographical. She contributes scientific, natural history and adventure travel articles to BBC Wildlife, BBC History, BBC Online, New Scientist and major newspapers in the UK.

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