The Totally Brain-Wasted Botanist?

When I was 13 and a Junior Naturalist at the local nature center (job description: clean the aquarium, wander around) I got really good at leaf identification with the help of this trusty li’l book:

 Do you remember these?  I had a whole collection of these Golden Guides.  Pocket-sized, colorful, and glossy — they were so cute!  I think I also had The Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths, The Golden Guide to Rocks and Minerals, and The Golden Guide to Pond Life.  But I was definitely missing this volume:


I never knew this one existed, until I stumbled upon it on Amazon.  From the image, it looks like a used library reference book, which is kind of ironic since it’s supposed to be a “field” guide after all.  How will the young folk be able to accurately identify which fungi will wizz them into the stratosphere if they can’t check out the guidebook????

Anyway, even if you’re not into serving up cannabis cannoli or going out to graze on your opium poppies, this group of plants is pretty fascinating.  I think Amy Stewart, one of the bloggers at Garden Rant, should write a book about hallucinogenic plants.  What with her current project, The Drunken Botanist (subtitle: Celebrating Horticulture’s Contribution to Gettin’ Wasted) it sounds right up her alley!  Whaddaya say, Amy?

21 thoughts on “The Totally Brain-Wasted Botanist?

  1. OMG, Mary. I remember the first book but the second has me ROTFLMAO! I wonder who decided in that publisher to issue that book. It’s probably a rarity! Thanks for a good laugh on a long day!

  2. Not to mention Amy’ Stewart’s recent novel The Last Bookstore In America. (Get it on Kindle) A light read, but guess how the last real bookstore stays in business in the near dystopian future when everyone buys online? Umm, yeah.

      • I went to school in Fairfax County (Robinson Secondary School) and I DEFINITELY remember that live birth video (last seen about 15 years ago. It sticks with you). Yuck. Everyone came out of that class traumatized, I think. Not what you would choose to see right before lunch.

        • I graduated in 1999, so sounds like we just missed each other. I remember my two favorite teachers: Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Shaw (sorry, can’t remember their first names). Mrs. Johnson had brightly colored hair of the red variety and taught AP English. Mrs. Shaw taught Biology and AP Biology, and it was in her class that I saw the infamous live birth video. Were they still there when you taught? I came back for a visit a couple years after I graduated and almost all the teachers I remembered had left, including those two.

  3. That’s twisted…I still have my golden guides on weather and astronomy. Look what I missed out by starting out as an earth science guy, instead of a life science guy!! I bet that particular golden guide nets some $$ on Amazon compared to others.

  4. I. Need. That. Book. It looks like it would actually be really good for a laugh. But in seriousness, the Golden Guide to Trees was possibly my favorite book as a child.

  5. I remember when this book came in to the used book store I used to work at. I seem to remember that we priced it for a pretty penny, and it was still snapped up in a hurry. I wonder if the person who bought it was planning on using it as a field guide or a conversation piece? Or maybe they had fond memories of their orignal copy from the 70s.

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