Taxonomy and the Naming of Things


A Presentation by Jennie Martin

“…When I knew nothing of plants, I experienced a forest only as a tangle of forms, shapes, and colors without meaning or depth, beautiful when taken as a whole but ultimately incomprehensible and exotic. Now the components of the mosaic had names, the names implied relationships, and the relationships resonated with significance.”
― Wade Davis, ethnobotanist

It’s all Greek to me!

Can modern taxonomy and the scientific naming of things be a tool for bringing the bushcraft, primitive skills technician and survivalist into closer relationship with plants or does all that Greek and Latin create further distance?

The grouping and naming of plants can be overwhelming and confusing and there is a danger, as Salman Rushdie says that “Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth’s marvels, beneath the dust of habit.”

However, it is Jennie’s experience that once the box is opened, and a deeper look at these names and groupings are explored, a fascinating journey of greater intimacy can also begin.
Join Jennie with her attempt to ‘decolonise’ modern scientific taxonomy and make it accessible to all.

“When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it’s safe inside your mouth.”
– Jodi Picoult

Learn more about Jennie Martin here.