Latest event at Kew Gardens could literally blow your mind

Plants and fungi: Many different properties

Plants and fungi: Many different properties

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Explore the history behind mind-altering plants and fungi at Kew Gardens seasonal exhibition.

People rarely go through their lives without using some mood or mind-altering substance - from tobacco and coffee that are cemented in culture, to the opium poppy with chemical powers that have shaken economic and political worlds for centuries.

Visitors will discover how plants’ identities have been manipulated through time, sometimes portrayed as friend, sometimes as foe, when in actuality no plant is inherently a drug, a medicine or a poison.

The season will highlight the ensnaring, bewitching and lethal offerings from the natural world and show just how powerful their chemicals can be.

Architectural foodsmiths Bompas and Parr return to Kew where they will launch a plant connoisseurs’ club, offering talks, workshops, interaction while exploring unfamiliar yet culturally significant plants consumed around the world.

Willing participants will also get the chance to try an unusual plant.

Visitors can learn about the role plants play in crafting some of the nation’s most loved alcoholic concoctions, from hops to juniper, and try some out at the botanical beverages bar.

Guest speakers and experts will give talks during four spotlight weekends looking into alcohol, cannabis, coffee and magic mushrooms through a series of workshops and debates demonstrating how perspectives and uses of specific mind-altering plants have many variations across history and different cultures.

The Intoxication Season: Mind Altering Plants and Fungi; Kew Gardens; September 20 to October 12; Free to £15; kew.org.

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