The history of plants goes back to when the world was first created. When it comes to plants, do you know their roots? In fact, the plant world has been around since the creation of the earth. When Man (and woman) arrived on the planet, plants became a basic staple for consumption and survival. Aside from being a source of food, clothing, and shelter, different plants also began to be used over time for a wide variety of reasons. Among the uses, but certainly not all-inclusive are:
Medicine- The list of plants used for medicinal purposes is too long to even begin listing. Some have proven merit. Others are just myths or folklore. Some lost favor over the years. Others remain “an old family remedy”. While others still, are now in vogue and believed to help a given ailment. The list is endless, and many have yet to be tested. Perhaps this list includes some of our worst ailments like cancer and heart disease.
Expressions- Flowers reign in this category. The queen of the expression is the rose. But many other flowers share some of the throne. Don’t try to tell a mother that the bouquet of Dandelions from her four-year-old is not an expression of love. Then, there was the six or eight-year-old (I can’t quite remember exactly) who brought his mother home a bouquet of flowers–Poison Ivy! After a long bath and calamine lotion, my mother told me just how special the bouquet was. Never mind that the bouquet never made it to a flower vase.
Special Occasions- Weddings, birthdays, funerals, etc. Here flowers also reign, but they are not alone. In the Christian religion, palm leaves hold special meaning, while Olive branches are a sign of peace. Then there is celery which was used in Greek and Mediterranean areas in special events. The list goes on.
To ward off Demons- We all think immediately of Garlic. Place a garlic necklace around your neck and you are safe from vampires. The History of the Jack O’Lantern dates back to Irish customs to ward off demons around Halloween. And before pumpkins, potatoes, turnips and rutabaga were used.
Clothing – When we think of the clothes we wear, and other uses of cloth material, cotton and flax plants readily come to mind.