Plant and Microbial Biology 24, Section 1

Encounters with Plants: First-hand Experiences with the Culture, Lore, and History of Plants (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Lewis Feldman
Tuesday 11:00-12:00, 201 Giannini Hall, Class number: 24325

This seminar is meant to provide students the opportunity to explore ways plants have touched or influenced their lives, both personally and in an historical sense. Examples could include unique cultural uses of plants, perhaps as foods or medicines, or in a ceremonial way. As well, you could also use this seminar to explore an aspect of plants in which you may have an interest and about which you would like to learn more, such as the ways plants figure into art (e.g., Rousseau’s Jungle paintings). Plants too have recently been associated with controversial issues, such as genetically engineered foods and with so-called crop circles. We want to use this seminar as a way of expanding our appreciation and understanding of this unique group of organisms. For the first few meetings we will have talks/discussions from individuals whose daily lives involve plants. For the remaining weeks each student will present a 20-minute “seminar” on a plant topic in which they have an interest. This talk should be based on readings and could also involve some personal, firsthand experiences with plants. Additionally, this seminar will expose students to the great breadth and variety of botanical resources available at Berkeley; it will include field trips to the Botanical Garden and the Herbaria, and a tour of the trees of the Berkeley campus.

Instructor Bio

Lewis Feldman teaches Introductory Biology (Biology 1B) in which he hopes to convey the wonder and satisfaction of working with plants. He also teaches upper division courses in plant structure and physiology, and for his research investigates the developmental biology of roots. In his spare time he also serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Natural Resources.

Faculty web site:


For students thinking of majoring in the biological sciences, with an emphasis on plants, this course will provide them an overview of plant-related opportunities (e.g., research experiences, resources, faculty contacts) with which to explore their interest (and possible major) in plants.

This seminar is part of the following programs

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