Mark Nesbitt


I am an ethnobotanist specialising in museum collections and the study of long-term change in human-plant relationships. I trained in agricultural botany at the University of Reading, and in archaeobotany at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. I have worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew since 1999, since 2004 as curator of the Economic Botany Collection. As well as welcoming many research visitors, we have developed three lines of research: in materials such as barkcloth, paper and basketry, in the history of colonial botany, including the Mobile Museum project, and in medicinal plants. Together with Felix Driver, I co-supervise PhD student Kim Walker at Royal Holloway, University of London, who is researching the 19th century history of cinchona through collections of bark specimens and archives at Kew, Leiden and elsewhere. This work is closely related to Plant.ID ESR8 Nataly Allasi Canales' PhD work at the University of Copenhagen, which uses DNA and chemical data from the same historic barks to address similar questions. Both PhDs have grown from the long-standing and cordial collaboration of several Kew staff with Nina Rønsted's group at the University of Copenhagen; we look forward to developing this and new, wider links in the Plant.ID network.