In this course you will explore how key plants and their products, such as sugar, cotton, coffee and rice, have become global commodities. We will follow the journey from wild species through domestication and cultivation to commercial production. How each plant fits into its eco-system, and how humans have interacted and exploited the plant will be considered. Similarities and differences in the use of these plants between cultures will be discussed. We will also discover how the chemistry of the plant has influenced and impacted its uses in the world today.
After studying chemistry at both degree and PhD level and working in different roles in the pharmaceutical industry, Alison’s passion for plants got the better of her. She retrained as a horticulturist, and joined the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, eventually becoming Acting Director. Alison is now focusing on using horticulture as a conduit for science communication but also enjoys creating new gardens for plant enthusiasts.