The Wardian case was invented by N.B. Ward in the early nineteenth century to use in transporting plants through long ocean voyages. This was an important improvement for plant explorers trying to send plants back to Europe from the Australia, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Propagation cases were similar structures built to maintain high humidity. These were important prior to mist propagation for cuttings.

19th century engraving of a Wardian case.