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Intoxicated Botanist Goes to Slovenia

Intoxicated Botanist Goes to Slovenia

  • Slovenia | May 14-29, 2024
  • Credits: BTNY 35800 – 3 credit​s

Janna Beckerman
Scott McAdam


Over millions of years, plants have evolved the ability to biosynthesize thousands of compounds. In only the last few thousand years, humans have cultivated plants for their ability to feed, heal, intoxicate and even poison—depending upon the plant and the compounds they produce. The objective of this course is to learn and apply plant taxonomy to identify and study the regional flora of Slovenia with a focus on flora used in the production ‘intoxicants’, substances that produces feelings of pleasure or happiness in a person. Many of these plants have centuries to millennia of history, having been fermented, distilled or extracted in alcohol; some were directly consumed for their ability to intoxicate. A focus will be placed on gaining the practical skills necessary to identify plants where they grow, as well as understanding the history and culture that may have promoted a plants role as an intoxicant. A goal of this course is to instill a healthy appreciation of the roles plant and fungi directly played in human civilization over millenia. Other outcomes include:

  1. Use keys to quickly identify important plant orders and families, of any family, particularly those used in the making of spirits, wine and beer.
  2. Recall the vegetative and floral characters (and the associated terminology) that are essential for the identification of flowering plants.
  3. Recognize the geological, edaphic, climatic, biotic, anthropic and palaeobotanic drivers of the vegetation types of Slovenia
  4. Describe the properties of plants and fungi and relate them to their abilities and their contributions to human society, namely intoxication.
  5. Develop an appreciation (connoisseurship) that plants provide in the form of wine, beer, and spirits and learn about their role in human civilization, past and present.




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