A fragment of a leaf of a potato plant infected with Phytophthora infestans is implicated in the death of a million people in Ireland and emigration of a million and a half more, in a riveting story that interweaves migrations of plants and the diseases that chase them, agrobiodiversity, germ theory, the defeat of a British prime minister, the politics of science, bigotry, disaster relief, and cultural memory. The aftermath altered the demography of many parts of the world.
About the Speaker: Douglas C. Daly
Douglas C. Daly, Ph.D., is Director of the Institute of Systematic Botany and B.A. Krukoff Curator of Amazonian Botany at The New York Botanical Garden.
A specialist in the systematics of the Burseraceae (Frankincense and Myrrh family), he has led or co-led more than 100 botanical expeditions in the tropics. His roots in western Ireland, experiences in the Andes, and interests in the impacts of plants and fungi on human history led to a long-running curiosity about the Irish Potato Famine, also known as The Great Hunger, which began in 1845.