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.
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.
A Weed is but an Unloved Flower
"Whatever Otherness weeds may possess, it is an outcome of human artifice.”
Boosters Used the Sweet Pea to Define California
In the late 19th century, Californians were eager to part with their reputation for wildness, so they adopted an "English" flower as their symbol.
The Charities That Gave Flowers to the Poor
Presenting impoverished city dwellers with a fresh bouquet might seem condescending. On the other hand, flowers are awesome.
Which Flowers Bloom First and Why?
A massive collection of dried flower specimens demonstrates that climate change disrupts the timing of spring blooms.
Victorian Botanical Paintings
Amateur botanist Margaret Rebecca Dickinson painted the wildflowers she collected in the English countryside.
Plant of the Month: Peony
Peony's effectiveness as an ancient cure translated into a tool of statecraft in the eighteenth century.
Plant of the Month: Stanhopea Orchids
How did some orchids transform from rare, all-but-inaccessible flowers into popular houseplants you can purchase at a supermarket?
What Do Pesticides and Chrysanthemums Have in Common?
They both contain insecticides called pyrethrins, used in ancient Persia. Today we use them in lice-killing shampoos.