The Wardian Case

The Wardian Case demonstrates how delicate plants were first kept alive and protected on long voyages. In 1827, Nathaniel Ward accidentally invented terrariums while studying caterpillars and moths by placing them in jars. He noticed plants flourished in these sealed jars and discovered they better survived harsh conditions when enclosed in sealed containers. Ward’s discovery led to horticulturists being able to transport items around the globe. These early “fern cases” paved the way for modern terrariums, greenhouses, and conservatories.