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Kristan M. Hanson

Kristan M. Hanson is an art historian whose research explores the cultural significance of live plants, herbarium specimens, and botanical imagery. She is currently the curator of the Fleming Museum of Art located at the University of Vermont. Prior to that she served as the Digital Managing Editor for the Plant Humanities Initiative at Dumbarton Oaks and was a 2020–2021 Plant Humanities Fellow. Her dissertation, completed at the University of Kansas, applied digital humanities methods and tools to the study of horticultural art, plant mobility, and gendered spatial practices in the context of 1870s Paris. She has received fellowships and awards from the College Art Association, the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, the HASTAC Scholars program, and the Hall Center for the Humanities.


Plant of the Month: Sunflower

With the invasion of Ukraine, it seemed like sunflowers suddenly appeared on the political landscape. Yet they’ve long held symbolic and economic value in Europe.
Arachis hypogaea, Warren Delano collection of Chinese export paintings of fruits, flowers, and vegetables, ca. 1794–1852, Botany Libraries.

Plant of the Month: Peanut

The peanut, a natural hybrid of two species, originated in Bolivia. It now plays a critical role in food cultures around the world.
Hyacinthus orientalis

Plant of the Month: Hyacinth

A 2021 shortage of hyacinth bulbs brings to mind the long and storied history of its botanical and economic import.
Litograph of A. Faguet, Dracaena stricta

Plant of the Month: Cordyline

Plantfluencers? Back in the nineteenth century, it was the dazzling leaves of cordyline that set trends in domestic style.

Plant of the Month: Fuchsia

Too popular for its own good? The career of a flower so powerfully beautiful, fashion would inevitably declare it over.
bottom half of a venus flytrap

Plant of the Month: Venus Flytrap

The carnivorous plant, native to the Carolinas, has beguiled botanists and members of the public alike since the eighteenth century.