Plants are everywhere and everyone has a story to tell about a plant.
Plants are everywhere in our world and lives. They beautify our homes and fortify our bodies. They give us medicines and metaphors, perfumes and poetry. But people are often blind to the fact that plants exist in a world of complex relationships that are often hidden from human view. They can recognize, communicate, and even cooperate with each other. They exhibit complex behaviors in response to equally complex stimuli. They have their own wants, needs, and desires.
And yet, despite our essential connections to the green world, many people are now notably “blind” to the plants that not only sustain us but that share our world.
What is plant blindness?
Nearly twenty years ago, biologists diagnosed an epidemic of “plant blindness” in people. If we can’t see the plants that are around us everyday—the trees that shade sidewalks, the lavender that feeds bees, the houseplant that has crawled across the windowpane—we also can’t see that plants are essential to our everyday lives.
Plant blindness makes us insensitive to both the private lives of plants and to the deep history of plant-human interactions. Perhaps most significantly, our inability to see plants locally renders us blind to the significant consequences of human action on plant communities globally.
Stories have always served people as a way to keep connections alive. Herbaria 3.0 invites you to share your story of the plants that inhabit your world.
We welcome all kinds of plant stories, whether they be written, recorded, or drawn. Send us your favorite plant photographs and tell us the story behind the image. Interview an elder about a plant they remember or used as food or medicine. Do you have a tattoo of a plant? Tell us about it. Share a child’s picture and description of a favorite plant. Check out our Snap Story page and send us your stories on the fly or share your plant pictures on our Instagram page!
We believe that 21st-century storytelling about plants not only helps us understand their long-standing impact on people throughout time, but also that this kind of storytelling helps us learn to care for nonhuman environments under threat in our climate-changing times.
What are “herbaria”?
Herbaria are collections of preserved plant specimens featuring dried plants mounted on heavy white paper, most often prepared by plant collectors or botanists for research purposes. Herbaria are powerful chronicles of both disappeared and disappearing worlds. They detail a long and often complicated history of plant-human interaction, and thus serve as an effective metaphor for the project of this site. For more information about herbaria and the herbarium images you will see throughout the site, please click on “About Herbaria 3.0” in menu above.