In This Online Group, People Share Examples Of Botanical Wonders And It’s Soul-Refreshing (50 Pics)
Spring has sprung! At least here, in the Northern hemisphere. Forests and meadows as well as neighborhoods and gardens are once again flourishing with life and color, infusing us with positive vibes.
But if for some reason you can't go outside to enjoy all of this beauty, there's a place on the Internet that perfectly captures it too. Sure, it's not the real deal, but it's as close as it gets.
There's a subreddit called Botanical Erotica (I'm paraphrasing a bit), and its 218K members are constantly sharing high-quality images of plants, including trees, flowers, and even fungi. Continue scrolling and enjoy some of its most popular posts of all time.
150 Year Old Wisteria Tree In Ashikaga Flower Park In Japan
To learn more about botany, we contacted Jennifer Hirsch, aka The Beauty Botanist. "[Since it is a science], botany takes plenty of study," Hirsch told Bored Panda. "I did an undergraduate degree in another field in the US, and then did postgraduate study at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the edge of London. My route into botany was through horticulture, but I know botanists who discovered the field through chemistry, paleontology, archaeology, and some who discovered it through taxonomy. It helps if you have a passion for plants... I want to know everything about them and why (it's my favorite question) they are like that."
Botany, as a field and career, has many paths that lead to all sorts of interesting destinations. Hirsch, for example, practices something called ethnobotany. "I'm interested in the relationship between people (ethno) and plants (the botany bit)," she explained.
"What I do is very commercial in that I work with brands to help them tell stories about their values and products through the plants they use. That could be talking about the plant chemistry, or it could be talking about traditional use, or even research being undertaken on specific bits of the plant." So the botanist divides her time between working with brands, researching specific plants and cultures, and on the ground (in a pre-pandemic world), talking to the people who live with and grow the plants.
"Botany is a really wide science. Traditionally there are 26 fields of botany," The Beauty Botanist said. "There are paleobotanists who work closely with archaeologists to identify plant materials that have been preserved in the fossil record, or in the ancient human record."
"There's even a field of botany, coprology, that looks at plant matter preserved in poop. There are botanists who work in the agricultural sciences - agronomy and crop scientists. You can find us in the field, living with indigenous communities and documenting how they use the different plants around them. Pretty much anywhere and in any industry where there are plants, there are botanists."
Wisteria Climbs Up A Home In South Kensington, London. (Wisteria Floribunda)
This Camellia Seen At A Botanical Garden In Florida
There might be a botanist in all of us. After all, more and more Americans have started gardening during the pandemic. According to Home Food Gardening: U.S. Market Trends & Opportunities by the market research firm Packaged Facts, 26% of surveyed American consumers noted that they are planting a food garden because of the pandemic.
The Washington Post reported that seed companies were "shell shocked" by the huge volume of orders they experienced this year. For example, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds received 4,500 orders daily, twice the usual peak demand of spring, and was forced to close down its website and turn down new orders. Renee's Garden usually receives a peak of 350 daily orders in the spring, but that number skyrocketed to 2,000 in 2021.
Ghost Caladium (Caladium Moonlight)
Entrance To A Stone Cottage Adorned With Flowers In Stockbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
Some of us amateurs limit plants to their looks and smells. But there is so much more to them. Being a plant geek, The Beauty Botanist finds everything about them fascinating. Including their sex life. "When you can't just pick up and take yourself to a speed dating event to find a partner, you have to get really creative," Hirsch said.
"There are plants that mimic insects, inciting aggressive attacks by the flies or bees, and while the bug is busy fighting, the plant sticks pollen to it. Some plants create odors to attract pollinators. And because it's all in the eye (or olfactory glands) of the beholder, that could be divine floral notes or the smell of rotting meat. Others offer an energy incentive in the form of nectar. When you're stuck in one place with the biological imperative to reproduce, you can get really creative."
Someone Threw Out This Orchid In The Dumpster. Rescued A Real Beauty
The Beauty Botanist said that plants produce all sorts of chemistry that we've found useful for pretty much everything in our lives, "from medicines (the cancer drug taxol was originally synthesised from yew, for example) to helping reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin, to fine fragrance (essential oils like sandalwood, neroli and rose are some of the most expensive fragrance ingredients) to the spices and herbs you flavour your food with."
"When you start looking for and counting the things in your life that are plant-derived, it’s pretty easy to rack up a big number. We evolved with them, our bodies adapted to use them, and we’ve continued to depend on them in intimate, small ways and grand global ways," Hirsch explained.
Even something simple as having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people's moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel safe and relaxed.
Research also shows that people who spend longer periods of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. This is due to measurable increases in feelings of compassion—another effect of exposure to ornamental plants.
When you look at the benefits that plants offer us, there's really no reason to exclude them from our lives.