It provides a synopsis of the film and offers discussion questions about each of its four chapters that can help audiences use the film as a springboard for exploring their own thoughts and experiences. The Botany of Desire:
Its broader subject is the complex reciprocal relationship between the human and natural worlds, as illustrated through the cultural history of plant domestication and gardening.
The question Pollan raises is: Who is really in control? What is in it for them? Coevolution involves a complex process of adaptation within a mutually beneficial relationship in which each organism receives something in return for a service rendered.
The most familiar example of coevolution is the honeybee and the flower, in which the honeybee receives nutritious pollen and nectar in return for cross-pollinating the flower. Human domestication of plants is a special case of coevolution in which humans have selected and bred certain plants for their nutritional, medicinal, or aesthetic value, and plants have responded by expressing, within the range of their genetic variability, new and humanly desirable traits.
Plant domestication could not have occurred, however, without a prior innovation in plant evolution, the emergence of angiosperms, or flowering plants, about one hundred million years ago.
Instead of scattering their pollen to the wind or using asexual cloning, these plants evolved showy flowers and seeds to disseminate their genes. With flowering plants, Pollan argues, beauty entered the world and made it possible for plants to attract pollinators and seed dispersers on the basis of color, flower appearance, and the food value of their fruit.
About ten thousand years ago, a second innovation in plant evolution appeared known as the agricultural revolution. A group of edible grasses responded to human selection by evolving larger and more nutritious kernels, which in turn encouraged humans to clear land and plant more of them.
The concentrated food value from these annual grasses—wheat, rye, barley, oats, and corn—made it possible for them to be harvested, stored, ground, and used as a reliable food source, transforming humans from hunter-gatherers to settled agriculturalists.
These grains, in turn, found a reliable means of propagation. The first cities and ancient human civilizations emerged in part because of this dependable annual food surplus, which freed a part of the population to become scribes, priests, warriors, or artists.
Pollan chooses four common domesticated plants as illustrations for his intriguing thesis about plant domestication being a reciprocal relationship—the apple tree, the tulip bulb, the marijuana plant, and the potato tuber—and examines the complex cultural history of each.
It may be that by responding to the human desire for sweetness, beauty, intoxication, or, in the case of the genetically modified potato, power over nature, plants trick humans into helping to disseminate their genes.
The story of plant domestication is a long, complex, reciprocal relationship. Domesticated plants have responded to artificial selection with a variety of new traits, but from a botanical perspective, there The entire section is 1, words.
Unlock This Study Guide Now Start your hour free trial to unlock this 8-page The Botany of Desire study guide and get instant access to the following: Summary 13 Homework Help Questions with Expert Answers You'll also get access to more than 30, additional guides andHomework Help questions answered by our experts.Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire tells the story of four familiar plants—the apple, the tulip, the marijuana plant, and the potato—and the human desires that link their destinies to .
The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Change Your Mind, Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide.
THE BOTANY OF DESIRE MICHAEL POLLAN A Plant’s-Eye View of the World urbanagricultureinitiative.com 3/8/02 Page v. Four marvelous essays on four plants, all with the common theme of how well each has manipulated humans for its benefit. The plants are: the apple, the tulip, the potato, and marijuana.
Featuring Michael Pollan and based on his best-selling book, this special takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world, seen from the plants' point of. September 28, Michael Pollan promises a plant’s perspective of the world in The Botany of Desire and delivers a book about human nature.
Inverting the natural tendency to believe that people are somehow outside of nature, he asserts that plants manipulate our desires to help them survive and proliferate – that we are, in essence, rendered .