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Our Herbal Heritage

Our Herbal Heritage

By Morgan Niles

A plant history podcast! A place were we discuss plants, their botany, history, folklore, and uses throughout time.
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Eastern Poison Ivy

Our Herbal HeritageMar 10, 2023

Eastern Poison Ivy

Eastern Poison Ivy

To the Europeans poison ivy was an oddity and the center of classification disagreements. Learn about the Eastern Poison Ivy, its relatives, and the people who obsessed over this plant. This episode covers some rich taxonomy and botany history as well as some of the odd individuals who tried to make this itchy plant mainstream.  Plants mentioned in today's episode: Eastern Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Cashew/Sumac Family (Anacardiaceae) Sumac (Rhus spp.) Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix aka Rhus vernix) Asian Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron orientale) Western Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii) Western Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) Atlantic Poison Oak (Toxicodendron pubescens) People mentioned in today's episode: Capt. John Smith (1579-1631) Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708) Jacques Philippe Cornut (1606-1651) William Bartram (1739-1823) Empress Joséphine Bonaparte (1763-1814) André-Ignace-Joseph Dufresnoy (1733-1801) The Coasters (band) – Poison Ivy  (1959) For those who may want to skip ahead: 1:20 Taxonomy & Types of Poison Ivy 10:30 History of Poison Ivy Sources: USDA Toxicodendron radicans USDA Toxicodendron diversilobum Poison-Ivy / Poison-Oak / Poison-Sumac The Virulent Weeds No Ill Nature: The Surprising History and Science of Poison Ivy and Its Relatives Britannica Poison Ivy
Mar 10, 202321:39
Botanical Discoveries: Plants Used in Mummifications

Botanical Discoveries: Plants Used in Mummifications

Botanical Discoveries: Our mini (or not so mini) episodes covering recent plant related discoveries! In this episode we go over the 2023 study that was published detailing the 2016 findings of a a 2700-year-old burial complex south of Cairo, Egypt. We discuss the artifacts and what plant matter they contain. We also talk about the significance of the discovery and how it gives us a further understanding of the mummification process and spice trade. Sources: Secrets to making mummies revealed in ancient urns Biomolecular analyses enable new insights into ancient Egyptian embalming  
Feb 24, 202315:36


Lets explore the long history of Basil! From Ancient Greece to Modern day, basil has been around for thousands of years. We discuss some cultivars you can find today, some of the oldest civilizations that used basil, superstitions and scorpions! as well at the tale of Elisabetta and Lorenzo.  Plants mentioned in today's episode: Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Lettuce Leaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Lettuce Leaf') Mammoth Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Mammoth') Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora)  Spicy Globe (Ocimum basilicum) Cinnamon Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Cinnamon') American/Lemon Basil (Ocimum americanum) Lime Basil (Ocimum americanum) Purple Ruffles Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Purple Ruffles') Dark Opal Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurascens') Green Ruffle Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Tulsi/Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) Sources: NASA Grows Basil Purple Ruffles Basil New World Encyclopedia Basil Iowa State University Basil Herbs by Christopher Sullivan A Visual History of Basil by Lauren Allen University of Oxford Basil Basil by M. Grieve The Secret Life of Basil: Forlorn Love, Holy Water, and Scorpions? Tulsi: The Elixir of Life Tulasi in Hinduism Sacred Plant of Eternal Love and Healing: The Mythology and Magic of Basil Boccaccio’s Decameron, Day 4 Novella 5
Feb 03, 202329:18