This plant isn't a humble nettle, but josephinia imperatricis, named after Empress Joséphine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Joséphine (1763-1843) filled the Malmaison Palace in Paris with exotic plants from the lands her husband Napoleon had conquered.

What can this botanical watercolour by Pierre-Joseph Redouté tell us about the relationship between empire and science?

Hettie Ward, Assistant Keeper in the Fitzwilliam Museum's Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, tells us more.



botanical watercolour showing a tall, green plant with serrated, nettle-like leaves
Josephinia imperatricis by Pierre-Joseph Redouté