Pursuit of botany starts off innocently enough: maybe you are a gardener interested in learning about plant biology, maybe you are a survivalist wanting to learn about edible plants, or maybe you are a wildlife lover who wants to attract hummingbirds to your yard. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you are fully prepared for the havoc you may wreak upon your life. Before you read that gardening book, click that link, or go to that native plant conference, take the time to educate yourself about the hidden dangers of botany:
- You can’t un-see the scenery.
Like walking in on your parents, plant identification is one of those things that you can’t un-see. Before you learn about botany, the world around you consists of only vague categories of greenery. Afterwards, plant scientific names practically scream themselves at you every time you go outside. Sure you might feel “more engaged with the natural world” by knowing how to properly address the surrounding flora, but once you learn those names, you will never be able to traverse the countryside in blissful botanic ignorance.
- You increase your risk of accidents.
Your new-found plant identification skills will also put you at greater risk for bodily harm. You may skin your knees while climbing logs to photograph ferns. Wildflowers off the side of the road may catch your eye and cause you to swerve your vehicle dangerously. Even on the water you are not safe. Plants along the water’s edge will call you like sirens, and threaten to entrap your kayak on snags.
- You will start to hoard plants.
Each new group of plants you learn about will become The-Most-Awesome-Plants-Ever and lead to a cycle of never-ending garden expansion. Sure gardening is great way to exercise in the great outdoors, but you will always be tortured by the desire for “just one more plant.”
- Your relationships will be strained.
Once you learn a bit about botany you will want to share some of your knowledge with your friends and family. Occasionally, you may wow them with fun facts about some unusually useful/poisionous/carnivorous plant, but most the time you will simply become a source of exasperation. Your friends will roll their eyes as you point out (yet another) wildflower on your walk together, your significant other will sigh as you bring home (yet another) species of plant to add to your over-brimming garden, and your kids will become annoyed that (yet again) you are taking so long looking at all of the plants. While vacationing, more fun loving people will want to go to overpriced theme parks, but you will be torturing your family and friends by suggesting (yet another) trip to a botanic garden.
- You will want to learn more science.
Botany is the ‘gateway science’ to obsession with a wide range of natural sciences. Once it has you in its clutches, botany may start you off on the path to wanting to learn entomology, ornithology, or, Lord-forbid, mycology. It may even send you off into the esoteric realms of soil chemistry or meteorology. The madness will simply compound itself.
If, despite all these dangers, you still want to pursue botany, go right ahead. Learning botany may indeed help you grow prize-winning dahlias, get free food from your yard, or become a better steward of the earth. Just know what you are getting into, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.