History Prof Discusses the Little-Known History of the Wardian Case

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Prof. Stuart McCook

Prof. Stuart McCook from U of G’s Department of History was on Australia’s ABC Radio show The History Lesson” to talk about the Wardian Case, a wooden box that travelled the globe during the 19th century and changed the world.

The box, invented by Dr. Nathaniel Ward, an English physician and amateur naturalist, allowed the mass transport of plants on ships.

As McCook explained, the case played a key role in bringing the decorative and food plants of Britain across the British Empire.

McCook studies the environmental history of crops and commodities. He has a particular interest in the history of coffee as well as the crop disease outbreaks of the 19th and 20th centuries.

He is the author of the book Coffee is Not Forever: A Global History of the Coffee Rust.