Hello everyone. We've discussed crytpozoology numerous times in this forum. A slightly different but equally intriguing topic concerns cryptobotany.
So I thought it would be fun to investigate that a bit.
Just like cryptozoology is the area which focuses on creatures not known to mainstream biology, cryptobotany focuses on mythological and legendary
plants not recognized in scientific communities concerning mainstream botany. (1
Let's take a look at some examples of mythological and legendary plants.
We're most likely all familiar with the concept that talking to plants possibly enhances their health and growth while unsettling noises and music
have negative impacts. Some consider it an urban legend of sorts or even an old wives tale. Others believe it has grounds on a scientific basis.
There is a difference between that and the ancient belief of sentient plants, IMO, but others disagree and tie the two concept together. In that,
ancient beliefs that plants had a life of their own.
Large old growth trees, according to Ken Carey and other mystics, develop sentience that is not present in younger trees. This perspective
indicates that humans and nature can coexist and that the large old growth trees must be preserved as a parent or gardian consciousness of the forest.
THE UMDHLEBI PLANT
Never proven to actually exist, the Umdhelbi was an allegedly poisonous plant used in rituals and contained various paranormal qualities.
Umdhlebi is an unverified plant species purported to originate in Zululand, South Africa. It was first reported in the journal Nature on November
2, 1882 by Reverend G. W. Parker, a missionary in South Africa, who said the plant was poisonous.
According to Parker, Zulus sacrificed sheep and goats to the tree to calm the evil spirit. As of 2010, no specimen of the Umdhlebi has ever been
recovered, and other than 19th century anecdotal evidence no further verification is known to exist
A superstition is connected with this plant. Only a few persons in Zululand are supposed to be able to collect the fruits of the Umdhlebi, and
these dare nut approach the tree except from the windward side. They also sacrifice a goat or a sheep to the demon of the tree, tying the animal to,
or near the tree. The fruit is collected for the purpose of being used as the antidote to the poisonous effects of the tree from which they fall-for
only the fallen fruit may be collected. (6).
MAN EATING PLANTS
Man-eating tree can refer to any of various legendary carnivorous plants that are large enough to kill and consume a person or other large animal.
No such plant is known to exist, though a variety of unconfirmed reports have been recorded presently...
Similar to the concept of 'super sized' Venus fly traps, ancient legends speak of plants so great, they had the ability to consume humans. One
famous example is the LEGENDARY MAN-EATING
TREE OF MADAGASCAR
. Although we do know it is a fact that carnivorous plants definitely exist, the general consensus is that the Madagascar tree
was a hoax or at least greatly exaggerated.
On the other hand, it is similar to the tales of the 'Ya-Te-Veo' of Central America (pictured above).
THE VEGETABLE LAMB OF TARTARY
IMO, this one is purely mythological and has zero basis in fact unlike the above which at least have relations to things that could exist. Like other
mythologies that were used to explain their world, the vegetable lamb of Tartary explained the origins of the cotton plant:
The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (Agnus scythicus or Planta Tartarica Barometz) is a mythical plant of central Asia, believed to grow sheep as its
fruit. The sheep were connected to the plant by an umbilical cord and grazed the land around the plant. When all the grazing material was gone, both
the plant and sheep died. In the medieval period, the plant was said to explain the existence of cotton.
Raskovnik was a legendary type of grass that was believed to have the ability to pick locks. Although the grass apparently exists, no one can describe
its appearance (9
Unlike its cryptozoology counterpart, crytobotany is not as popular or well known. In fact, I stumbled on the subject by accident while reading
something else. So I decided to look into a bit and share it with my fellow ATS members.
There's a bit more out there even including psychedelic plants believed to grant the consumer time/space travel abilities as well as telepathy but I
refrained from listing those for obvious reasons.
Anyways, there you go. I thought it was a cool area I didn't know existed.
[edit on 8/17/2010 by AshleyD]