Towards an anthropology of plant names: part 3

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    When a person enters an unfamiliar space for the first time, such as a new habitat – a tropical or a taiga forest biome, for example – they will not recognise it as the world where they belong and which they have come to understand and accept as normal. Only very slowly and with intense effort can we humans teach ourselves that there is in fact order in this confusion; only by resolute application do we learn to distinguish and classify objects and understand the meaning of terms such as ‘space’ and ‘shape’. Instead, a visitor to a habitat new to them is afflicted by visual chaos – forms and colours, a muddle of new imprints, none of which seems to bear any relationship to the familiar landscape of home. We know that early global travellers such as Alexander von Humboldt and other visionaries of the Age of Enlightenment experienced this, as did Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the 19th century and Edward Osborne Wilson
    and James Hemphill Brown in the 20th; the same experiences have been committed to writing by 21st-century scientists who have continued to explore patterns of variation in life across the planet. All have had their own unique experiences and subsequently shared their observations in objective ways that have helped to illustrate the general patterns and processes of terrestrial and aquatic biological diversity found on Earth. This article explores how we perceive and have sort classify plants in the past.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-102
    Number of pages4
    JournalArboricultural Association Magazine
    VolumeSummer 2022
    Issue number197
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2022


    Dive into the research topics of 'Towards an anthropology of plant names: part 3'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this