In this body of work, I investigate how botany became important to the commercial and territorial expansion of Europe beginning in the 18th century. I trace the journey of the Persian Hogweed from Iran to Buckingham Palace, where it was prized as an ornamental plant and eventually reached North America after the Second World War. As a pawn used in international botanical diplomacy, the Persian Hogweed was desirable until it was no longer useful to this type of political and economic trade.
The project as a whole honours the arduousness of the migratory journey, the scattering of seeds, and the preservation of cultural heritage far away from one’s homeland. My inquiry intends to contemplate the interests that inform the construction of discourses to establish what is local and therefore familiar, versus what is foreign and therefore a threat. In doing so, I disentangle the Persian Hogweed from the negative perceptions that have plagued its ability to survive. Instead, we may come to appreciate the efforts that necessitate adaptability and acclimatization.