Swiss and Japanese Botanical Exchanges about Native and Foreign Plants

By 1900, professional botanical networks had expanded, as shown by Swiss and Japanese exchanges. Japanese botanists supported Swiss botanists and horticulturalists in their quest for foreign flora, such as the bamboo and the chrysanthemum. They applied the techniques they had acquired in Europe, to experiment with plant transfer to Japan’s colonial territories (Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Taiwan). Yet, Japanese activities, such as forestation, the exploitation of wild plants and the establishment of botanical gardens and public parks on its newly acquired islands, also reflect a turn to native plants, such as the butterbur. By the early twentieth century, botanists in Switzerland as well emphasized the utility and beauty of native flora. They turned attention to moss and marsh flowers and participated in the establishment of nature preserves. They also displayed an interest for pioneer plants (now considered weeds) which they studied in industrial areas, and which under the influence of Lamarckian and Darwinist thought, they regarded as particularly resistant and adaptive.