Free Intro Class

Which type of non-muggle botanist/herbalist are you? 

Access this hilarious and delightful FREE intro video
with Matthew Wood and Jolie Elan in The Library Free Previews
(Beginner course section)




Learning is a Never-Ending Process
“The neat thing about herbalism is that there is no end to learning. 
There is always one more leaf to turn over.” 
- The late Bob Gallagher, herbalist




Botany for Herbalists

Mugwort’s School of Botany (for non-muggles)

with Matthew Wood, MS (Herbal Medicine)
and Jolie Elan, MS (Natural Resources/Forestry)

Classes cover:

Plant Ecology. We should know that we are part of an ecosystem, with characteristic plants in various mixtures. The plant is inseparable from the soil the water, air, pollinators, birds and of course, us. We are part of the living, sentient ecosystem. Learning plant ecology will ground the herbalist and enable them to think like an ecosystem. Geez, this plant in the rose family is growing on the edge of a wet meadow helping to dry it out, I wonder if it does the same thing in my body.

Botanical nomenclature and plant taxonomy (how plants are categorized). We need to know the Latin name in order to identify the plant and converse with others about it. Knowing the scientific name informs us where the plant lies on the family tree; who are its sisters and cousins. The herbalist can start to ask interesting questions like: “I wonder, can I substitute Hound’s Tongue for Comfrey since they are cousins in the same Borage family?”

Safety. We need to know the poisonous plants that are found in our ecosystem.

Evolutionary Botany. We need to know the major plant families to which medicinal herbs belong. This gives us insight into medicinal properties and basic planetary evolution.   We want to understand the evolutionary history of plants, in order to understand the relationship between major families.

Herbal Education and Communication. We will be better teachers for our students and we will have better communication with our herbal peers.

Plant Communication. We want to fully appreciate plants by understanding the new scientific knowledge about how plants, and plant communities, communicate. This is highly analogous to traditional knowledge based on plant-to-person communication. We want to value both. This class delves into the science of Plant Intelligence.

Ethical Harvesting and Plant Propagation. We want to know if an herb can be sustainably harvested – and how to look that information up, if we don’t immediately know.

Herbal Practice. The best practitioner is the one who knows her or his field thoroughly and competently. When we are selecting the correct herbs, we want our minds to naturally slip from one to another, making associations based on medicinal properties, tastes, ecology, botany, correct identity (at the least), safety, and ethical harvesting.

And More:

  • How plants are named and grouped
  • How to see a flower: plant parts and functions; plant sex 101
  • Evolutionary history of plants and why it’s important for herbalists to know.
  • Intelligent medicine - The fascinating new field of plant intelligence - Indigenous wisdom meets modern science 
  • Plant ecology and ecological medicine – How plants relate with each other and their communities; how this influences their medicine. 
  • Major medicinal plant families - how to identify them and their shared medicinal properties
  • Botanical identification and ethical harvest
  • How to read the landscape
  • Includes access to the private, online community





“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.” 
- Georgia O’Keeffe




Imagine yourself standing by a trickling creek in the dappled shade...

You are in the midst of what could be powerful medicinal plants. And - Wow- what is that? Is it California Ginseng? Yes, it must be. And you begin to imagine all the wonderful herbal honey you can supply to your friends and clients for their damp lung congestion this winter. It's great to be an herbalist!  Then the inevitable question arises - how do I know for sure? Maybe it's cow parsnip or even worse, poison hemlock - Yikes! Maybe it is endangered? And all the visions of herbal honey are now forgotten. You walk home wishing you had the tools to know the plants around you on a deeper level. Well, this is the course you have been waiting for...

Why We Created

"Botany for Herbalists"

An herbalist should always feel, in their own home environment, that they can “read the landscape” around them.

We should know that we are part of an ecosystem, with characteristic plants in various mixtures – native, non-native, damper soil, drier soil, disturbed soil, shade-tolerant, sun-tolerant, etc. From the tree to the bush, to the plant, to the soil, we should understand that we are looking at a complete system with its own intelligence. Within that microcosm, we should be able to identify most of the plants we are looking at.

While we can rely on teachers, books, and experience, the infallible method is to learn to look deeply at the sacred geometry of the flower patterns made by the sepals, petals, and male and female reproductive plants. For the most part, plants are classified by their flower patterns into groups, families, genera, and species.

We also need to know the Latin name in order to identify the plant in terms that everyone else can refer to. The science of naming and classifying plants is called Plant Taxonomy.

Many herbs follow the traits of their families and have similar medicinal properties. We might want to substitute a cousin plant with similar properties, or by knowing the family we might get a clue to the possible properties of a new plant we have not seen before. We also must know the three or four poisonous plants that are found in most temperate ecosystems.

Finally, we want to know whether a plant is rare or common in the region where we are and whether it can be sustainably harvested – and how to look that information up, if we don’t immediately know.

When we know all of these bits and pieces of information and can put them together into a whole, then we are ready to pick plants in the wild and teach others about their properties on herb walks and even in the classroom.

Why an Herbalist Must be a Botanist

Jolie was once at a conference where an herbalist started a plant journey class with a misidentified plant. Jolie pointed out that it was poison oak. As herbalists, and ambassadors of the plant kingdom, we do not want to look like fools, misinform people, or poison them. Herbalists, like masters of plants and their properties, should be able to talk to fellow herbalists and pick, plant, and grow herbs appropriately.




“A background in botany is crucial to a well-trained herbalist. I can always tell the difference between a student with botanical training and one without. 
- Matthew Wood

Includes

  • Support Materials

    A detailed syllabus, reading assignments, online resources, and fun labs.

  • 2 year access to materials and Q&A

    2 years to view and review content, ask questions and discuss. *Since Jolie's passing, UpS's Susan Leopold has stepped in to answer botany questions.

  • 26 hours of teaching

    26 hours of in-depth teaching with Matthew Wood and Jolie Elan.

Curriculum

  1. 1
    • Botany Intro Video

    • Audio

    • Botany - More About the Course Curriculum

  2. 2
    • Welcome Message

    • Botany - Syllabus

  3. 3
    • Reading Assignments

    • Botany - Class 1: Handouts and Supplementary Reading

    • Botany - Class 1: What's in a Name - Video

    • Class 1: Audio

    • Botany - Class 1: What's in a Name - Quiz

  4. 4
    • Class 2: Reading Assignments

    • Botany - Class 2: From Algae to Orchids - Video

    • Class 2: Audio

    • Botany - Fern Reproduction

    • Botany - Gymnosperm vs. Angiosperm

    • Botany - How To Identify Trees

    • Botany - Mosses and Fern Reproduction

    • Botany - Ponderosa Pine

    • Botany - Story about Conifers

    • Botany - Class 2: From Algae to Orchids - Quiz

  5. 5
    • Class Preparation Notes and Reading Assignment

    • Botany - Class 3: How to Really See a Flower - Supplemental Reading and Activity

    • Botany - Inferior Ovary

    • Botany - Plant Walk

    • Botany - Class 3: How to Really See a Flower - Video Part 1

    • Class 3: Audio Part 1

    • Botany - Class 3: How to Really See a Flower - Video Part 2 - Plant Sex

    • Class 3: Audio Part 2

    • Botany - Class 3: How to Really See a Flower - Quiz

  6. 6
    • Botany - The Intelligent Plant Community - Class 4: The Intelligent Plant Community - Supplemental Information

    • Botany - Class 4: The Intelligent Plant Community - Video

    • Class 4: Audio

    • Botany - Class 4: The Intelligent Plant Community - Quiz

  7. 7
  8. 8
    • Botany - Class 6: Medicinal Plant Families Part 2 - Video

    • Class 6: Audio

    • Botany - Class 6: Medicinal Plant Families Part 2 - Quiz

  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
    • Free Preview and Summary

    • Botany - The Wisdom of the Elders: Medicine for Our Times - Webinar Chat Text

    • Botany - The Wisdom of the Elders: Medicine for Our Times - Video

    • The Wisdom of the Elders: Medicine for Our Times - Audio

  14. 14
    • Free Preview and Summary

      FREE PREVIEW
    • Botany - Weedy Plants - Their Significance and Usefulness - Webinar Chat Text

    • Botany - Weedy Plants - Their Significance and Usefulness - Video

    • Botany - Weedy Plants - Their Significance and Usefulness - Audio

    • Botany - Weedy Plants - Their Significance and Usefulness - Handout from Jolie

    • Botany - Weedy Plants - Their Significance and Usefulness - Handout from Matthew

  15. 15
    • Survey Question

 

 

 

 

 

Access this Highly Acclaimed Course

2-year access to this course

The Library Bundle

Access to this course and many more.
(Full list can be found on The Library page.)

Start at any time! Complete the lessons at your own pace.

Certificates designed and signed by Matthew Wood are available for purchase to those who successfully complete all tests with a passing grade of 70% or better. More details regarding herbal course certificates are here.

Tests are multiple-choice, and multiple attempts are permitted.

For those of you seeking clinical hours, we have a list of all classes/courses with corresponding accreditation hours.




"Thanks Jolie...I have been studying herbalism for many years and am just getting into the botany aspect of it. So thankful you guys are doing this class. I wish I had realized how much I loved botany when I was younger! It truly is fascinating!"

- L.B.

5 star rating

Great intro class

Cheryle Boggs

So much information, well worth your time to learn this valuable skill in a field where there is so much confusion with common names.

So much information, well worth your time to learn this valuable skill in a field where there is so much confusion with common names.

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5 star rating

Exceptional course for learning how to identify plants

Luana M

If you want to learn how to identify plants, this course is highly recommended. I've previously taken two other botany classes, but with this one I came away...

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If you want to learn how to identify plants, this course is highly recommended. I've previously taken two other botany classes, but with this one I came away with so much more, including how to actually use the keys to positively identify the plant right down to the correct species.

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"Thanks to you, Matthew and Jolie for making such a wonderful, entertaining and informative class available to the world! I'm so grateful to have found it.”

- T.K.

5 star rating

I think it's a perfect title

stacey quade

The class was clear, useful, empowering and extremely helpful. Thank you SO much! Well worth the time. First time learning with Jolie and I hope to someday m...

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The class was clear, useful, empowering and extremely helpful. Thank you SO much! Well worth the time. First time learning with Jolie and I hope to someday meet you in person!!! Thank you Matthew! When are you coming back to Duluth maybe you can bring her along :-)

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5 star rating

Awesome Class!

Leanne Beaulieu

I truly loved this class. Jolie and Matthew are great together and made this so fun! I feel this class is so important for herbalists, something I've been mi...

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I truly loved this class. Jolie and Matthew are great together and made this so fun! I feel this class is so important for herbalists, something I've been missing! Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, truly a wonderful class!!

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5 star rating

Wonderful!

Lynn Daniluk

Thank you so much for this lovely presentation. It was great to see your smiling faces. I am inspired!

Thank you so much for this lovely presentation. It was great to see your smiling faces. I am inspired!

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5 star rating

Interesting and fun

Liana McCoy

You two made it really fun to watch and listen to.

You two made it really fun to watch and listen to.

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5 star rating

Botany for Herbalists

Jo ana

A Wonderful overview presented through their perfect unique "intellectual levity", these 3 Super Professionals, Matthew, Jolie, and Tara hit it out of the pa...

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A Wonderful overview presented through their perfect unique "intellectual levity", these 3 Super Professionals, Matthew, Jolie, and Tara hit it out of the park! Thank you!

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5 star rating

botany for herbalists

dave santander

Muggliscious! Thank you for your fun living educational resource and inspiration!

Muggliscious! Thank you for your fun living educational resource and inspiration!

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5 star rating

An excellent teaser

Randall Shelaga

The sex lives of plants and their relations...a good intro.

The sex lives of plants and their relations...a good intro.

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5 star rating

House Rosa Here ... !

Fotini Taylor

I loved taking an herbal / botanical course from this fun and lighthearted perspective because this is exactly the way I see myself when I make my own herbal...

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I loved taking an herbal / botanical course from this fun and lighthearted perspective because this is exactly the way I see myself when I make my own herbal concoctions. I was able to very easily follow along and had tons of fun watching! I hope more classes come along that are taught in this fashion. Awesome!

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5 star rating

flower sex

julie gaia

amazing fun!!! I have been looking at witch hazel blooming now here in Ontario.

amazing fun!!! I have been looking at witch hazel blooming now here in Ontario.

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5 star rating

The Intelligent Plant Community

tina beneman

Appreciate additional reading and viewing links. Powerful to consider the wisdom that guides life.

Appreciate additional reading and viewing links. Powerful to consider the wisdom that guides life.

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5 star rating

Oak Tree

Susan Draffan

Great class with wide range of topics about our mighty Oaks. Fun to watch as well as filled with wisdom. Thank you!

Great class with wide range of topics about our mighty Oaks. Fun to watch as well as filled with wisdom. Thank you!

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5 star rating

Wonderful name. It's just what I was looking for.

Olivia Harris Barkoff

I enjoyed the class very much. I was a bit unclear on some of scientific details and would have appreciated more visual demonstrations.

I enjoyed the class very much. I was a bit unclear on some of scientific details and would have appreciated more visual demonstrations.

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“I have so much enjoyed this class!!!! Thank you to all involved! Jolie & Matt are such creative, inspirational, thorough & wise teachers.

 I've been an herbalist for many years & have always wished to enhance my botany skills. This class has been such a wonderful stepping stone for this & I feel ready to deepen my relation with plants this coming growing season with new eyes & skills.”

- Suzanne

5 star rating

Botany For Herbalists

Angela Batson

Just wow! I knew I wanted to take this course when I first viewed the intro class a couple of years ago. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be learnin...

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Just wow! I knew I wanted to take this course when I first viewed the intro class a couple of years ago. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be learning this from Jolie and Matthew, and am so happy the institute has decided to keep this class going. Jolie demonstrates such a passion in sharing her knowledge and I feel her spirit through her teachings. I just completed class 3 and am looking forward to the rest of the course. I honestly think I will never see a flower or a plant the same way prior to this course. I look forward to viewing my herb gardens and forest area through a new lens. With gratitude. Angela

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5 star rating

great title

Sandra Kalla

five star it will be great to use what I have learned on my next hike.

five star it will be great to use what I have learned on my next hike.

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5 star rating

Mystical, Practical Botany!

Megan O'Reilly Hodges

Jolie and Matthew's loving enthusiasm and warmth (for each other and the plant "kin-dom") us contagious. I have always wanted to "get into" botany, but alwa...

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Jolie and Matthew's loving enthusiasm and warmth (for each other and the plant "kin-dom") us contagious. I have always wanted to "get into" botany, but always got bogged down by the mere mention of "taxonomy;" I knew there had to be some mysticism in there to interest me, but as it was, I found it all too foggy to connect the dots, much less apply the material to the medicine. Jolie and Matthew's teaching was the catalyst, the warming agent to un-bog my mind and clear the fog! This is one of the most fascinating and captivating courses I have ever taken. I am so grateful for the practical, applicable approach AND timeless wisdom presented by these two great teachers.

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5 star rating

The Botany course you have always dreamt of

Annalisa Nardi

I enjoyed every single second of it. This course contains several perfect combinations: Jolie and Matthew, their teaching styles, both educational and entert...

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I enjoyed every single second of it. This course contains several perfect combinations: Jolie and Matthew, their teaching styles, both educational and entertaining, precise keys to understand taxonomy and tons of practical experience and cases. This course achieves something that most of the people believe it's impossible: it proves that not only Nature but also Botany is alive! this course gave me "new eyes" to look at our beloved plants, I highly recommend it.

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5 star rating

parts of the flower and how they 'do it'...

Marna McKinney

very enjoyable class, personable and helpful. Already seeing plants more deeply..because I know what I'm looking at!

very enjoyable class, personable and helpful. Already seeing plants more deeply..because I know what I'm looking at!

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5 star rating

Amazing

Wishnick Adams

I absolutely loved this class and would recommend it to anyone who loves plants , herbalist or not.

I absolutely loved this class and would recommend it to anyone who loves plants , herbalist or not.

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5 star rating

I LOVED this class!

Lynn Pride

This was one of my favorite classes. Well taught. Entertaining. Informative.

This was one of my favorite classes. Well taught. Entertaining. Informative.

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5 star rating

Botany for Herbalists

Jo ana

A Wonderful overview presented through their perfect unique "intellectual levity", these 3 Super Professionals, Matthew, Jolie, and Tara hit it out of the pa...

Read More

A Wonderful overview presented through their perfect unique "intellectual levity", these 3 Super Professionals, Matthew, Jolie, and Tara hit it out of the park! Thank you!

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5 star rating

Gratitude for the skills and botanical confidence I gain...

Nan Sinauer

After completing this course I feel so excited for the spring and summer, to go forth and identify plants with my new knowledge, skills and tools. Learning...

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After completing this course I feel so excited for the spring and summer, to go forth and identify plants with my new knowledge, skills and tools. Learning about the plant families and how to use a botanical key and flora were eye opening developments in my botany and herbalist journeys. I also appreciate very much the teachings about the relationships between plants and the spirit world that provided a beautiful backbone to the course. I’m inspired to dive deeper into opening up my awareness and connections to the plant spirit realm. I was particularly intrigued by the teachings on Elder as I have been cultivating a beautiful Elder patch for a number of years, and this year I’m going to spend some time with the Elder in a new way, paying attention to what the Elder has to teach and offer on the spirit and energetic realm. It was very emotional to continue this course after Jolie’s passing, I thought constantly about her wisdom, her strength and her passion for plants, and though I never met her I was deeply impacted by her teaching and grieved upon her death. I believe and hope she will be my botanical angel going forward, encouraging me to continue to learn about plants, gain a deeper relationship with them, and commit to protecting them in my own small way.

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5 star rating

Thank you--this was amazing

Rhonda Merwarth

I'm so glad I took a chance on this course. In my herbalism studies, I didn't really think about incorporating botany, but this has provided me with profound...

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I'm so glad I took a chance on this course. In my herbalism studies, I didn't really think about incorporating botany, but this has provided me with profound knowledge I can apply now and in the future. I appreciated the time and energy put into it--packed with valuable information. I'm deeply sad that Jolie has passed on since then and I wasn't able to connect with her personally, but I'm so grateful her bright energy lives in these videos and conversations. She and Matthew were wonderful instructors. Can't recommend this course enough. DO IT.

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5 star rating

Excellent course

janet munson

Should be compulsory for all citizens of earth.

Should be compulsory for all citizens of earth.

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5 star rating

Plants, humor and wisdom

Amy Daileda

I highly recommend this class. It combines knowledge with humor, wisdom, stories and a deep connection to our earth. The teachers are excellent, and their co...

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I highly recommend this class. It combines knowledge with humor, wisdom, stories and a deep connection to our earth. The teachers are excellent, and their combined expertice and experiences can't be beat.

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