Botany/Ecology

Herbs for the Immune System

Introduction to Immune Stimulants, Immunomodulators and Antimicrobials The following article is an excerpt from our 500-hour Herbal Immersion Program, which is the most comprehensive handcrafted online herbal course out there.  Before we dive into herbs for the immune system, we’re going to start with lifestyles for the immune system. Because herbs are really and truly the icing […]

Pink Lady’s Slipper

Lady’s slipper orchids have a commanding presence—their  inflated blooms are captivating to the point of heady swooning and inspiring colorful prose. The etymological root of the word orchid comes from the Greek orchis, meaning testicle. Certain species of orchid bear roots, which resemble paired testes. In pink lady’s slipper, it is the flower, and not […]

Cannonball tree – sea slug-esque flowers, Shiva’s tree and pre-columbian transoceanic voyages

I had seen pictures of the cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis, Lecythidaceae) in my tropical plant books for years, always with its large distinctive cannonball-esque fruits. But I had never seen a picture of the flowers, and so the first time I laid eyes on its gargantuan blooms at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Florida, I was […]

Witch Hazel- Bloomoogling unusual male parts, explosive seeds, and medicinal uses

When witch hazel flowers in late fall, its leaves are golden with the season’s splendor, or already fallen to join the rich tapestry of the eastern deciduous forest floor. Its yellow petals resemble crimped streamers, lending a wild look to the close aggregation of flowers (one might liken them to a late-night party of fringe-element […]

Pineapple Sage – Hummingbirds and herbal flowered persimmon goat cheese

Roll out the red carpet for pineapple sage, flaunting her cherry-red bilabiate flowers atop slender racemes. Numerous pollinators flock to her elegant flowering branches, seeking nutritious pollen, sipping nectar, and dutifully transferring pollen from anther to stigma. Pineapple sage’s entourage includes: butterflies, bees, ants and hummingbirds, whose penetrating beaks imbibe the precious nectar nestled deep […]

Large Milkweed Seed Bugs

I recently photographed some colorful milkweed bugs in my garden and decided to repost a small piece I had previously posted about these gorgeous gregarious insects with the new photos, figuring most of you didn’t read the original essay, and would absolutely love to learn more about these charismatic insects. The large milkweed bug, Oncopeltus […]

Even Violets Need a Plan B

The little blue edible flowers of common blue violet are a welcome sight in our garden in early spring, as my fleuravorous daughter loves to feed the sweet little flowers to our family, passersby, and her miniature menagerie. Most people are familiar with the violet genus (Viola spp., Violaceae), readily identifying the group by their […]