Botany Quotes

Quotes tagged as "botany" Showing 1-30 of 37
Hope Jahren
“The leaves of the world comprise countless billion elaborations of a single, simple machine designed for one job only – a job upon which hinges humankind. Leaves make sugar. Plants are the only things in the universe that can make sugar out of nonliving inorganic matter. All the sugar that you have ever eaten was first made within a leaf. Without a constant supply of glucose to your brain, you will die. Period. Under duress, your liver can make glucose out of protein or fat – but that protein or fat was originally constructed from a plant sugar within some other animal. It’s inescapable: at this very moment, within the synapses of your brain, leaves are fueling thoughts of leaves.”
Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

Drew  Hayes
“I got into magic because I got into alchemy. Which I got into because I was into chemistry, which I was learning about because I wanted to get better with botany, which I had taken up studying in an effort to grow some killer weed”
Drew Hayes, The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

Will Advise
“A book about books is like a poem about poetry:

Books are knowledge, paid for, all.
Readers - horses in a stall.
Stallions should always run.
Lest they stale become, in turn.

Running waters are most clear.
In some books, you disappear –
lose yourself, and track of time.
How I wish that one was mine...

Mine, to have, to write, to read...
Mine, just like a flying steed.
Mine, forever, - to improve.
Would I then, of me, approve?

I would not, I can't... myself.
I'm but dust, swept off a shelf.
Fly, can I, just 'til I'm settled,
down, beside my flower, petalled.”
Will Advise, Nothing is here...

Kage Baker
“The leaf that spreads in the light is the only holiness there is. I haven't found holiness in the faiths of mortals, or in their music, not in their dreams: it's out in the open field, with the green rows looking at the sky. I don't know what it is, this holiness: but it's there, and it looks at the sky.
Probably though this is some conditioning the Company installed to ensure I'd be a good botanist. Well, I grew up into a good one. Damned good.”
Kage Baker, In the Garden of Iden

Michael Pollan
“Queen of Night is as close to black as a flower gets, though in fact it is a dark and glossy maroonish purple. Its hue is so dark, however, that it appears to draw more light into itself than it reflects, a kind of floral black hole. In the garden, depending on the the angle of the sun, the blossoms of a Queen of Night may read as positive or negative space, as flowers or shadows of a flower.”
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
tags: botany

Theodore Roethke
“The Geranium

When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine -
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she'd lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)

The things she endured!-
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.

Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me-
And that was scary-
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.

But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely.”
Theodore Roethke, Selected Poems

“The color and shape of flowers are a precise record of what bees find attractive”
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

William Kamkwamba
“After a few days of rain, the seedlings will push through the soil and unfold their tiny leaves. Two weeks later, if the rain is still good, we then carefully apply the first round of fertilizer, because each seedling requires love and attention like any living thing if it's going to grow up strong.”
William Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

Michael Pollan
“The virus altered the the eye of the beholder. That this change came at the expense of the beheld suggests that beauty in nature does not necessarily bespeak health, nor necessarily redound to the benefit of the beautiful.”
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

Alexander William Williamson
“Not one of them [formulae] can be shown to have any existence, so that the formula of one of the simplest of organic bodies is confused by the introduction of unexplained symbols for imaginary differences in the mode of combination of its elements... It would be just as reasonable to describe an oak tree as composed of blocks and chips and shavings to which it may be reduced by the hatchet, as by Dr Kolbe's formula to describe acetic acid as containing the products which may be obtained from it by destructive influences. A Kolbe botanist would say that half the chips are united with some of the blocks by the force parenthesis; the other half joined to this group in a different way, described by a buckle; shavings stuck on to these in a third manner, comma; and finally, a compound of shavings and blocks united together by a fourth force, juxtaposition, is joined to the main body by a fifth force, full stop.”
Alexander William Williamson

Tove Jansson
“As they pushed through the door a remarkable sight met their eyes: the Muskrat was sitting in the fork of a tree eating a pear.
"Where's mother?" asked Moomintroll.
"She's trying to get your father out of his room," replied the Muskrat, bitterly. "This is what comes of collecting plants. I've never quite trusted that Hemulen. Well, I hope the Muskrat heaven is a peaceful place, because I shan't be here much longer.”
Tove Jansson, Finn Family Moomintroll

Ned Hayes
“I reached down to feel the soil, and I touched the outreaching roots of the trees that bore horizontally and vertically hundreds of feet through the forest. I stroked the earth with my palm, and I could almost feel that invisible network of capillary roots that sucks moisture and nutrients out of every inch of the soil I was standing on. I breathed in and out. I was part of the forest. I was alive.”
Ned Hayes, The Eagle Tree

Susan Orlean
“I wanted a Fakahatchee ghost orchid, in full bloom, maybe attached to a gnarled piece of custard apple tree, and I wanted its roots to spread as broad as my hand and each root to be only as wide as a toothpick. I wanted the bloom to be snow-white, white as sugar, white as lather, white as teeth. I knew its shape by heart, the peaked face with the droopy mustache of petals, the albino toad with its springy legs. It would not be the biggest or the showiest or the rarest or the finest flower here, except to me, because I wanted it.”
Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession

Terry Pratchett
“That's old Twoflower, Rincewind thought. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate beauty, he just appreciates it in his own way. I mean, if a poet sees a daffodil he stares at it and writes a long poem about it, but Twoflower wanders off to find a book on botany. He just looks at things, but nothing he looks at is ever the same again. Including me, I suspect.”
Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

Jo Walton
“Elms are dying all over the place, it's Dutch elm disease. [...] It came from America on a load of logs, and it's a fungal disease. That makes it sound even more as if it might be possible to do something. The elms are all one elm, they are clones, that's why they are all succumbing. No natural resistance among the population, because no variation. Twins are clones, too. If you looked at an elm tree you'd never think it was part of all the others. You'd see an elm tree. Same when people look at me now: they see a person, not half a set of twins.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Melina Sempill Watts
“The underlying melody via every rock, plant, animal, sky and star, inside the water, from the dirt, through the light: only love lasts.”
Melina Sempill Watts

Elizabeth Gilbert
“The cave was cool and silent- thoroughly carpeted- with the most luxuriant mantle of mosses Alma Whittaker had ever seen.
The cave was not merely mossy; it throbbed with moss. It was not merely green; it was frantically green. It was so bright in its verdure that the color nearly spoke, as though- smashing through the world of sight- it wanted to migrate into the world of sound. The moss was a thick, living pelt, transforming every rock surface into a mythical, sleeping beast. Improbably, the deepest corners of the cave glittered the brightest; they were absolutely studded, Alma realized with a gasp, with the jewellike filigree of 'Schistotega pennata.'
Goblin's gold, dragon's gold, elfin gold- 'Schistotega pennata' was that rarest of cave mosses, that false gem that gleams like a cat's eye from within the permanent twilight of geologic shade, that unearthly sparkling plant that needs but the briefest sliver of light each day to sparkle like glory forever, that brilliant trickster whose shining facets have fooled so many travelers over the centuries into believing that they have stumbled upon hidden treasure. But to Alma, this 'was' treasure, more stunning than actual riches, for it bedecked the entire cave in the uncanny, glistering, emerald light that she had only ever before seen in miniature, in glimpses of moss seen through a microscope... yet now she was standing fully within it.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

Gail Carriger
“We do not suit. You have no genuine interest in botany!”Lady Violet practically yelled her final conclusion. This was the biggest sin of them all.”
Gail Carriger, Poison or Protect
tags: botany

“...the Vegetable World has a higher significance than either the education of man's intellect, or even the maintenance of animal life. With its sweet influences, man's heart, —his moral nature, is in intimate communion; and through them, God reveals himself to the soul in his most endearing attributes. By the teachings of the Vegetable World the tone of our moral being is affected in no small degree, and flowers are often interwoven with the web of human destiny. In a word, the heart of man is susceptible of no purer or more enduring earthly pleasure, than that which it experiences in its free communion with the exhaustless beauties of the Vegetable World.”
Alphonso Wood, Poetry of the Vegetable World: A Popular Exposition of the Science of Botany, and Its Relations to Man

Jane Goodall
“It was as though the plants wanted me to write a different kind of book and sent gentle roots deep into my brain. They wanted me to fully acknowledge their importance in human history, their amazing powers of healing, the nourishment they provide, their ability to harm if we misused them, and, ultimately, our dependence on the plant kingdom. The plants seemed to want me to share with the world my own understanding of their beingness, so that people might better honor them as important partners in so many of our endeavors.”
Jane Goodall, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants

Jennifer Fulton
“Charlotte was lost for words. What did one say to a man in a fake marsupial head, wearing a grass loin-pouch and trying to debate ethnobotany in the middle of a lost world that was supposed to be inaccessible by foot?”
Jennifer Fulton
tags: botany

“Improving upon nature is the very essence of plant breeding, and so it goes to the heart of one of the central debates of the human condition: the relationship between humanity and nature and the degree to which the human race has a right (or indeed a responsibility) to change plant life for its own ends.”
noel kingsbury, Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding

“Sometimes shows became almost obsessively obscure, as with the gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) shows of nineteenth-century Britain, when workingmen in the industrial counties of northern England and the Midlands formed themselves into societies, constituted with presidents, secretaries, and stewards, for the purpose of running gooseberry shows—weight being the decisive factor. Quite why this fruit, always something of a minority taste, should become the subject of what only could be described as a cult remains a mystery.”
Noël Kingsbury, Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding

Ned Hayes
“I felt the bark of the trees on either side of me as I walked. It was very soothing. Here in the LBA Woods, the trees grew very close together and when I did not walk on the path, I would reach out with my fingertips and touch their bark as I passed. The skin of the trees was warm in the sunlight, and rough, and I imagined that each tree contained a soul. Like an Ent. I knew this idea was not a true thing, but still I felt good that the trees were here.”
Ned Hayes, The Eagle Tree

Melina Sempill Watts
“To Tree’s surprise, e could still feel the blade of Univervia that was on the deer’s tongue. And the feelings that came at Tree were fast, intense and surprising. The whole blade lay languid, surrendering as the tongue mashed the strands of grass up to the roof of the doe’s mouth. Then the deer twisted the grass sideways and ground teeth into the grass. As the grass was destroyed, each cell popped and gave shots of grass life-force into the hungry deer, in little pops of ecstatic release. The whole thing happened as swiftly as a string of firecrackers going off into light and smoke, leaving behind a dull residue that gave no sense of the evanescent beauty that had been enchanting the air only moments before. Tree felt this chunk of Univervia embrace willful dissolution and then suddenly all these little pieces that had been integrated into Univervia were separated into something like ananda, the joy which powers the universe and then... then the grass was deer.”
Melina Sempill Watts, Tree

Elizabeth Gilbert
“Alma wrote in depth about laurel, mimosa, and verbena. She wrote about grapes and camellias, about the myrtle orange, about the cosseting of figs, She published under the name "A. Whittaker." Neither she nor George Hawkes believed that it would much benefit Alma to announce herself in print as female. In the scientific world of the day, there was still a strict division between "botany" (the study of plants by men) and "polite botany" was often indistinguishable from "botany"- except that one field was regarded with respect and the other was not- but still, Alma did not wish to be shrugged off as a mere polite botanist.
Of course, the Whittaker name was famous in the world of plants and science, so a good number of botanists already knew precisely who "A. Whittaker" was. Not all of them, however. In response to her articles, then, Alma sometimes received letters from botanists around the world, sent to her in care of George Hawkes's print shop. Some of these letters began, "My dear Sir." Other letters were written to "Mr. A. Whittaker." One quite memorable missive even came addressed to "Dr. A. Whittaker." ( Alma kept that letter for a long time, tickled by the unexpected honorific.)”
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

Amitav Ghosh
“To her father who had taught her what she knew of botany, the love of Nature had been a kind of religion, a form of spiritual striving: he had believed that in trying to comprehend the inner vitality of each species, human beings could transcend the mundane world and its artificial divisions. If botany was the Scripture of this religion, then horticulture was its form of worship: tending a garden was, for Pierre Lambert, no mere matter of planting seeds and pruning branches--it was a spiritual discipline, a means of communicating with forms of life that were necessarily mute and could be understood only through a careful study of their own modes of expression--the languages of efflorescence, growth and decay: only thus, he taught Paulette, could human beings apprehend the vital energies that constitute the Spirit of the Earth.”
Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke

Lisa Kleypas
“I've never been more impressed with your ability to manage difficult people."
Helen pried a pale yellow flower open to find the pollen-tipped rod within. "If living in a house of Ravenels hasn't been adequate preparation, I can't fathom what would be." Using a toothpick, she collected grains of pollen and applied them to the nectar, which was hidden beneath a tiny flap of the stigma. Her hands were adept from years of practice.”
Lisa Kleypas, Cold-Hearted Rake

John Berkenhout
“Those who wish to remain ignorant of the Latin language have no business with the study of Botany.”
John Berkenhout, Clavis Anglica Linguae Botanicae
tags: botany

Robin Wall Kimmerer
“Is the land a source of belongings, or a source of belonging?”
Robin Wall Kimmerer

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