"Acacia confusa is woven into Chinese literary classics as an agent of love, yearning and grief that often includes stories of family and political waring and turmoil [...] During the last decade, Acacia confusa has pierced the human cranium and sensory faculties in a dramatic fashion among a newly formed subculture of Western societies. Beyond the awareness of the melancholic lovers of Chinese literature, members of an underground psychedelic culture discovered the plant embodies potent psychoactive alkaloids that can blast human consciousness into radically different states of perception, when the plant is prepared and consumed appropriately."
"The Mols apples are perfect: beautiful and supportive of life. Yet they result notfrom arduous work from the tree, but emerge instead from its good relationshipswith the soil and microbes, light, other trees, water, animals, people: from the appletreefeeling at home. [...] To be creative like an apple tree is to be free, to do whatoneisand be joyful in the process and the produce, which are one. "
Luis eduardo Luna
"Don Emilio referred to ayahuasca as abuelo, grandpa. Many other people called it madre ayahuasca, some describing in detail how they communicated with its spirit. I have never had what I would call a direct contact with an entity personifying the plant itself, although I have often seen entities of many kinds, at times approaching me. This is a common motif not only of yagé, ayahuasca, and other sacred plans, but of the DMT molecule, as exemplified in Rick Strassman’s work. Now, what kind of mind or minds am I tapping into? Do they directly have volition? Is it the mind of the plants, of higher intelligence permeating our planet, the mind of the planet itself, of the solar system, of the galaxy, of the whole universe? If it is the mind of the plant, does she have an inner horizon limited to the history of her own individuality, or does it include her parent plants, the whole species, or even a collective plant mind that stretches beyond present time and space? If she has a self, what kind of self is it? Is it like mine, always fluid, sometimes intensively present, more often though barely conscious? If she has a self, is it more present sometimes than others? Is the seed more awake when landing on suitable ground than when hanging on a branch? Is it more present at night, when it grows, or when the sun suddenly reaches her from behind a cloud? Is she more present when she feels the rain, or when is being attacked by an insect or fungi? Is she aware of the trillions of microorganisms inhabiting her? Is she more aware of herself when inside me? Is she also connecting with a self much larger than herself, larger still than me? "
"Wherever I now go in Java, I see banyans, spindly and stout, boulder-hugging and tree-smothering, solitary streetside and gregarious in groves. I have become banyan-minded — attuned to the tree’s mode of meaning-making. The banyan mind is a confluence of mindings: human, bird, wasp, Buddha. Not circumscribed by brain, mind permeates world. At this critical juncture in earth history, entraining to banyan mindfulness could help us avert catastrophe and come to live with — and within — the intelligence of all that exists. "
andre parise & Gabriel toledo
"The dance of ions within the brain or within the plant cells is the framework that allows the mind to exist and function. And everything that happens and is perceived by a brain or plant is encoded into electrical signals. The plants lack the constellation of neurons that keeps the memories in the brain, but certainly, they have other means for storing past experiences: we still do not know how it happens."
"... crossed candied plain
to hold velvet wings
in the space
between finger and thumb...
... traced toes
in bloodied mud
just to lace
in the place
toward Grandfather Sun..."
black Austrian Pine
" I want to tell you a story about a forest. This forest is now known as a Fascist forest, if such a thing can in fact exist. I want to tell a story about the trees that make up this forest and the people who planted them. I want to tell you a story about seeing both the forest and the trees, and the people who walk through them, as intertwined. I want to tell you a story about not actually seeing, but encountering forest, trees, and those humans who truly mind them, where they want me to encounter them. I want to tell you this story because I mind the forest, I mind the trees, I mind those humans. I hope they all mind me as well."
"Remarkably, while bloodroot is flowering, its single leaf continues to enwrap the flower stalk and only gradually begins to open. In this phase of its development, bloodroot reveals a special two-fold gesture: openness and luminance in the flower above, and the restrained enclosing gesture of the protective leaf below. It is this gesture that struck me many years ago when I started to notice bloodroot, and each year it continues to speak strongly."
jonathon miller weisberger
"Softly, Memo continued, “In compassion for humanity, the Creator gave the first people three types of Cacao so they could live well: a sweet variety to share and to enjoy in festivals, a simple variety to eat every day as food, and a bitter variety for healing all illness.” […] “We have made a most impressive discovery. This region undeniably is the origin site of Theobroma cacao, the chocolate tree!” On the equator, along the eastern foothills of Cordillera Napo-Galeras, a mountain known in local folklore as the “End-of-the-World-Jaguar Mountain,” is the origin of the Cacao tree."
"Now I consider cannabis as a friend, or an ally. But is it really a plant teacher? My short answer is that it certainly acts like one. I often learn things after ingesting the plant, or I come up with new perspectives.
Does cannabis have a personality? I think one’s answer to this question will depend on one’s worldview. In my case, I think that cannabis acts like it has a personality. This does not mean that it truly has one, but that when I ingest it, I experience its impact on my personality. And on that basis, I find cannabis to be impish, playful, quirky, and tricky.
Tricky is a good word for cannabis; it plays tricks on me sometimes, or it gets me to play tricks on myself. It disrupts, or side-tracks, but often in a way that leads to new angles. It can be funny, but it does not guarantee clear-sightedness or inspiration."
"Now that time has almost placed fifty years on my back and the world’s population is feeling the shock of COVID-19, a novel virus that has unleashed fear, sickness, isolation and death, I have to say that my days are easier to bear if I reconnect with the little girl I was in a place [Nicaragua] where the cultivation of corn was a fundamental part of family life. It’s as if the mind of this indispensable plant (that is part of my own Amerindian culture) was connected to mine by means of my memories [...]
My favorite moment, the one I always hoped would come soon, was when the stalks were a little taller than I was. Then I could run in between the rows, and it was like traveling through cool tunnels. I can close my eyes now and still feel the playful way that the rough arms of each plant would caress my face. I would sing below them, convinced that they were listening to me because I could also intuit how happy they were to see me. Not all of them moved in the same way when they were touched by the wind. My heart could feel that the movements and sounds were louder in the row where I was running. When I would finally stop, covered with sweat and tired, I sensed a joy that I have rarely felt as an adult."
"Memory is neither intrinsically animal-like, nor only found in brains. There is a whole world of fascinating creatures, like the Cornish mallow, that we are just beginning to explore in our efforts to uncover and understand the forms and varieties of memory outside of animal brains. "
"I felt that through meditation and contemplation in my relationship with the crabapple tree I had reached altered states of consciousness or extraordinary openings equivalent to those produced by peyote or ayahuasca […] It is evident that there is an interaction, not only because of the unquestionable effect of the major entheogenic plants but also the effect of many garden plants, such as rosemary, mint or lemon balm."
"Recognizing other natural species as intelligent beings, overcoming our prejudice against their apparent lack of language, is the first step to recognizing the non-separability that unifies us as spiritual entities […]
As an artist, I see plants as a complex multi-dimensional system of knowledge, rich enough to offer the art process ways of exploring the edges of reality and to creatively to expand our belief systems […] The grace of entheogenic plants such as tobacco and the ayahuasca is a legacy from mother nature that cannot be ignored as a path to enter into the forests of consciousness."
eastern white pine
"The indigenous story tradition speaks of a past in which all beings spoke the same language and life lessons flowed among species. But we have forgotten, or been made to forget how to listen, so that all we hear is sound, emptied of its meaning. The soft sibilance of pine needles in the wind is an acoustic signature of pines. But this well-known “whispering of pines” is just a sound, it is not their voice. What if you were a great teacher, a holder of knowledge and vessel of stories, but had no audible voice with which to speak? What if your listeners presumed you to be mute, save for the passive whispering of your needles? How would you bring your truth into the world? Wouldn’t you dance your story in branch and root? Wouldn’t you write it in the eloquence of cellulose? In the lasting archive of wood? Plants tell their stories not by what they say but by what they do. They tell their story in their bodies, in an alphabet once as familiar as the song of every bird, which we have also forgotten, as we became afflicted not only with plant blindness, but plant deafness as well. "
For the Hornwort.
Coolant of stings and comfort of swelling
Green pendant swinging on a string of barbed envy,
These pages are too heavy to turn alone.
Help me find the spell to return to watery depths
Where friendly mosses and liverworts comfort in the change
Single celled spores and swimming biflagellate,
Plants that moved from sea to shore
May return without ressentiment poison
Clutching at their roots.
María Luisa Chacarito & Sabina Aguilera
"According to Ralámuli thought 'plants are beings that have existed long before mankind emerged in the world and they are wise. Each plant has its own mind and some of them are known to have specific powers and qualities.' Jíkuli is one of them... Beside the Ralámuli other Native American Peoples make use of this highly sacred cactus. For the Ralámuli this plant is one of the most powerful plant beings that Onolúame (an un-gendered all encompassing force that exists everywhere, also said to be “he who is our father”) gave to the people as significant medicine...Jíkuli gives good advice, strength, protection, vision and healing power."
"I had always liked olive trees, their sturdy trunk, their perennial green-greyish leaves and their unmenacing, but quietly determined demeanor. [...]
I wondered whether the trees liked to be so orderly lined up, as if they were soldiers in a parade, or getting ready for a battle that would never arrive. [...]
My son’s young olive tree looked fragile, slightly bent by the cold northern winds so frequent that time of year. Where did it come from? Who were its family members, what was its cultivar? Would it yield extra virgin olive oil, were its olives ever to be pressed? "
“'...This pineapple on the
canvas may only be a woman when laid right,
against an abstract background and cleaved
by its self alone. Mane of forest, feral, fecund."
River Red Gum
“As well as bringing out the laconic Australian sense of humor, the River Red Gum holds an iconic place on this vast continent. Not only has this tree become the most widespread organism in his chosen landscape, but also a dominant form in the inner landscape of our minds, inspiring creativity and awe, and being one of the most represented trees in Australian art, poetry, and fiction. And as these trees have spread to other parts of the world, so has their ability to capture our imagination reached well beyond the shores of their native country. The flowers, for example, remind me of sea anemones with their clusters of delicate, long, white to pale-cream, tentacle-like stamen. On our River Red Gum here in our garden, the flowers grow so high up in the air that it is a treat to find them on the ground. And the same goes for the fruits, which are small hemispherical capsules, tiny woody artefacts of earthy beauty.”
"Like other forest plants and animals, the relations of sago palms to their human kin are anchored in principles of exchange and care. Sago grows to support Marind by providing them with food and other resources. In return, humans must exercise respect and perform rituals as they encounter and process sago in the forest, recall its stories, and consume its starch. These reciprocal acts of care enable humans and sago to sustain each other’s growth as inter-agentive members of a shared community of life within the eco-cosmology of the forest."
Harriet Tarlo with images by Judith Tucker
"MAY samphire (Salicorna europea) seedlings pushing up on open mud, pushing up globular not yet branching pink-green across mud flats salt pans shallow pools at the creek edges higher according to light, tide, strength, site, climbing tiny banks higher at bottom shorter struggling up broad lush leaves of sea lavender (Limonium vulgare), occasional buds in tight turned swirl of energy, high over others, pioneering, pushing through just stalking not branching under cord grass flags (Spartina anglica and S. maritima long gone) green out of dry stalks slowing water down building mud build gutweed bladderwrack crab corpses stranded over purslane sprawl surely more than one pattern strong or foolish ones/individuals in relation to light, sun, place, tide brave it out of seed, of roots seedings to tangle with pale early white-pink thrift flowers within flower out of bronze sheath under singing lark sky low and middle marsh zones will not separate at beach edges, even high marsh resists definition"
"In a city [Dresden, Germany] that is not in any way short of memorials, the Splintered Oak is a curious exception: a tree is neither a building nor a ruin — reconstructed or not — nor, for that matter, a place. Splittereiche is a living being that resists the memorial duties imposed on it and subverts the ideas of memory as an exclusively human possession. However, though it is not an artifact, the tree was planted by humans, in a human-built park, cared for by gardeners and ‘tree-experts’, who have invested considerable resources to keep her alive. But why is that? What can this tree tell people that books and memorials cannot? Does she stand for something or with someone? Could it be that the Splintered Oak is a witness rather than a memorial, a fellow survivor -- one of the few beings that can still actively communicate its experience?"
“The Tachigalia versicolor is a socially embodied living thing; and by that, I mean that it’s physical life represents something much more meaningful than cellular growth. The tree was clearly more than just a trunk or seeds that it produced; it was more than an autonomous and individual material object in a forest. It appeared to live a meaningful life, but not for the sake of human beings. The tree was socially significant without human beings doing anything to it.”
megan ljubotina & james cahill
"An ethogram is simply a dictionary or catalogue of behaviours observed in a type of animal, and in animals they can be and often are produced through the careful observation of animal subjects. No special equipment is necessarily required, other than a pen and paper. An ethogram for a plant simply could not be produced in this way: in the course of their living, and doing, and behaving, plants do not provide much of the visual or auditory stimuli we are particularly attuned to as human beings. And yet as scientists working in the field of plant behaviour, there is something captivating about the idea of such a comprehensive list for a single species, something that emphasizes the diversity of behaviour that can be found in just one of over a quarter of a million of species of plants that we share a planet with. It is appealing as plant behaviourists to imagine a world where one could sit, and spend some time with a plant, and be able to easily observe exactly what it did as the environment changed. In the course of watching, we would see sunflowers actively solve some of the fundamental problems in their lives. "
"We might consider the tea leaf, that part of the plant from which tea is produced, the paradigmatic form of openness: it absorbs from the atmosphere around it and is permeable, constantly open to influence by the world without being overwhelmed or destroyed by it. For plants, to exist, to be in the world, means to make world, every action within is also an action without and without passivity, they exercise their will on the world."
"On September 18, 1974, Philippine newspaper Bulletin Today, known currently as Manila Bulletin, published an article by Rodolfo Mallari entitled “New Philippine Lily named after First Lady.” It announced that my father’s plant discovery during “an ethno botanical expedition to the Tasaday’s mountain forest lair” had been named after Imelda Marcos.” […] …Filipino intellectuals turned toad lily against toad lily. They used the Tricyrtis imeldae’s frog-like appearance to demean Imelda. The flower’s bewitching exterior concealed a gummy sap to capture unwary frogs. This sticky analogy was prescient."
"Wheat is a plant like no other. By changing form and identity like a master shape-shifter, she has faithfully accompanied humanity for well over 10,000 years. Originally born in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East, she dispersed her own ripe seeds out of wild existence to re-sow them into domesticated patches in the Karacadag mountains of south-eastern Turkey and elsewhere. During the process of domestication that spread across a wide area over several thousand years (a process an increasing number of scholars refer to as the "protracted" model), we made her into the staple food—breads and pastas of all shapes—we are so familiar with. She, on the other hand, made us into the humanity that we have become."
Iván Darío Vargas Roncancio
"In my experience, the yoco ingestion sets in motion a reverberating sensation of warmth rising from the stomach up to the limbs and head, and then the expulsion of what the body does not need. Thus, purging the body becomes an essential part of a learning protocol with this plant. With the yoco helping to cleanse what impedes this distinct form of thought—good and beautiful thinking leading to good and beautiful action—the body starts learning something about the efficacious workings of the yoco’s mind:
Wandering through tobacco plants,
listening to moriche palms (Mauritia flexuosa),
grateful and bewildered,
the body learns to learn;
travelling far, inwardly, crossing the lakes of lucid moments,
and the feverish fields of dreaming,
the body learns to listen, carefully.
Discussing what it means to learn with Amazonian plants is, decidedly, a thorny task. And this is not only because one is unable to fully grasp personal experiences with them, but also because learning and knowledge can’t always be accounted for through propositional language. There is always the chance of saying too much or saying too little. ‘We have our own routes to access knowledge, but we ought to revitalize them,’ is common currency in Amazonian epistemologies today. To be sure, plants like the yoco teach a method to re-centre corporeal experience back to the heart of knowledge making in this region."