The Lost Tales of the Plant Kingdom

Or, Why are all the reindeer stick-men called Phil? And, Why are they so sad?
*for a clue, see the note at the bottom.To me the art of botany is one of observation. We get to know a plant by the colour, number, shape and texture etc of it’s floral and vegetative parts. It’s habitat and the time of year are important too, but at it’s most simple we can tell a lot from the flower itself. We recognise the patterns and we piece them together, until we know with certainty it’s name.
If we are serious about healing the wounds of the Earth, we must re-introduce plant knowledge in an accessible and fun way. If it’s not fun, why should anyone learn it? We must engage the wonderfully vivid imaginations we have been gifted.
I propose that a way of introducing people to the incredible world of plants is by telling stories. Using standard botanical terms as a jumping-off point, we can weave magical tales. As time goes on and passion develops those terms won’t seem so alien. I can certainly think of no better way to get children interested in plants.
Are you a plant teacher? How do you teach botany yourself? What has worked for you?  Do you have any other memorable ones? Any feedback or guidance appreciated.
My imagination was first sparked by the book Botany in a Day by Thomas J Elpel. The title alludes to the fact that you can learn the first 7 families and their patterns in a single day. Up till that point I’d learnt them one by one, comparing pictures from the library of books I’ve amassed. You certainly can learn plants that way, but deeper knowledge is never a bad thing.
A huge influence for my upcoming journey was hearing of the work of Frank Cook, an ethno-botanist who had the aim of meeting at least one member from each plant genus. He travelled all over the world doing just that.  When I heard that this book was the one Frank took with him everywhere I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle.
I don’t have such a definite plan as Frank’s. Maybe one day a plan will emerge. For now i’m content not knowing where i’ll end up, embracing whatever the day holds. I aim to share the knowledge I have gathered, and to learn from others with knowledge of plants, permaculture and everything that springs off from there.
*For those not aware, the male parts of a flower are the stamen, composed of a long filament, topped with anthers. Get it?

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