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Plants for Profit

One of the goals of imperial expeditions was the exploitation of natural resources that might have financial or medicinal utility. The plants featured here tell part of the extraordinary story of eighteenth-century economic botany. Plants such as tea, cacao, quinine, and geraniums have come to seem so common that it is hard to believe that they were once new and exciting commodities. But some of these plants changed the course of history.


Exhibit Items