This thesis will investigate how the Miscellaneous Reports of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew represent relationships between humans and plants in the context of colonial botanic gardens. Exploring attitudes towards plants in this collection of archival materials relating to economic botany in the British Empire, from 1841 to 1928, will help to uncover the silences arising from the colonial origins of these materials. This will mobilise the archive against its original purpose, to reveal hidden interactions between people and plants and the stories that can be interpreted from the collection. Through a close reading of the volumes grounded in literary ecocriticism and plant studies approaches, I will analyse the interactions between humans and plants in terms of language used to refer to plants, structural questions about the ordering of knowledge and the administrative history of the collection, and issues of form in relation to the various types of material included. Centring in on the plants in the collection, from food crops to forests, will challenge existing methods of using colonial archival sources to uncover hidden stories, to demonstrate that examining the language of plants can address the absences in these materials. Interrogating Kew’s colonial history in this way will develop understandings of how and why current relationships with plants were established and contextualise the historical origins of current practices at Kew. The diverse range of materials in the Miscellaneous Reports offer new perspectives on wider debates about addressing the colonial past of cultural institutions like botanic gardens and museums and decolonising collections, as well as the parallels between human and environmental exploitation which are key to contemporary environmental justice movements.