One Million British Botanical Treasures Will Be Digitized

One Million British Botanical Treasures Will Be Digitized
Artifacts in the sprawling collection include a Chilean potato plant collected by Charles Darwin and 18th-century lavender

By Meilan Solly

SMITHSONIAN.COM

When Charles Darwin was just 22 years old, he boarded the HMS Beagle and set off on a five-year voyage that would take him to the far-flung corners of the world, from the Galapagos Islands to Cape Verde and the Andes Mountains. Darwin’s trip sparked the ideas that later formed the basis of his theories of natural selection and evolution—and, in a lesser-known turn of events, enabled the young naturalist to spend plenty of time observing a staple of British cuisine: the potato…