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Botanical Insights - Research Into Plant Diseases


  • Fri 8 Dec 2023, 9:00am–4:00pm
  • Sat 9 Dec 2023, 10:00am–3:00pm
  • Sun 10 Dec 2023, 10:00am–3:00pm
  • Mon 11 Dec 2023, 9:00am–4:00pm
  • Tue 12 Dec 2023, 9:00am–4:00pm

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All Ages

Research into plant diseases - A wake-up call from the Irish Potato Famine

This pictorial display runs through December and will focus on the mid-19th century Irish Potato Famine. This began when a fungus-like pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, became established and spread rapidly throughout Ireland, decimating the country’s crucially important potato crop and causing widespread famine.

Before it ended, the Famine, which lasted seven years, had resulted in the death of about one million Irish from starvation and related causes and forced another million to leave their homeland as refugees.

The Famine was a wake-up. Plant disease research underwent a huge increase.
In the display, you will meet some of the researchers and get an idea of the brilliant work they did.

This display is in the Treehouse Visitor Centre, Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā. You can visit anytime during opening hours (9am-4pm weekdays, 10am-3pm weekends and public holidays).

This display is created by Reg Harris who is a volunteer guide [botany] at Wellington Botanic Garden.
Reg delivers captivating botany lectures for diverse audiences, delving into plant interactions, adaptive radiation, tropisms, and more. As a dedicated volunteer guide at Wellington Botanic Garden (WBG), he pioneered collaborations between WBG and Victoria University, organizing annual field labs for biology students. Expanding in 2023, the program engaged around two hundred students yearly. Reg, a former forester in Western Southland, managed vast beech forests and explored sustainable practices in Japan. His background in Regenerative Medicine, studies at the University of Otago and Australian National University, and post-graduate business studies at Victoria University enrich his profound interest in botany and sciences.

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