Travels Through Time #5 – Matthew Biggs, 1905

In this episode, writer and Gardeners' Question Time panellist Matthew Biggs travels to 1905 to watch the plant hunter George Forrest begin an ill-omened expedition into the mountains of Yunnan.

History Today | Published in 20 Feb 2019


For centuries plant hunters had been drawn to nature's unexplored margins in search of prize new specimens, often travelling at significant personal risk through hostile environments and contested political spaces. George Forrest's 1905 expedition was one of the most fraught of them all.


Travels Through Time. Tailored tours of the past. 
Travels Through Time is presented by bestselling historian, Peter Moore. In each episode we are joined by an expert guest, to journey to the time and place of their choice. Enjoy a ringside view of history as never before, with the action described by those who understand it best. Browse other episodes in this series here.

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Further reading: related articles from the History Today archive

Botanist Explorers of Two Continents
William Seymour
Plants have been hunted since the days of the Pharaohs, writes William Seymour; but, in more recent times, two resolute Scottish botanists led particularly adventurous and courageous lives.

Flowers from Abroad
Wilfrid Blunt
The history of British flora's natives and invasives.

Deep Time and Australian History
Tom Griffiths
For our series on History and the Environment, Tom Griffiths travels into the longue durée of the Australian past.