Kathrin Meyer and Judith Elisabeth Weiss for the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden (ed./eds.)

Von Pflanzen und Menschen
Leben auf dem grünen Planeten
[Of plants and people. Living on the green planet]

Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2019, 208 pages
ISBN 978-3-8353-3467-0

A volume on the often underestimated importance of plants for human culture—a differentiated view on the biological and cultural dimensions of flora.

Companion volume to the exhibition Of Plants and People at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden (19 Apr 2019–19 Apr 2020)

Plants—they produce the air we breathe, form the base of our food chain, they form peaceful green oases that help us relax and are an essential part of our culture. However, despite their immense importance, we usually perceive them as a mere backdrop to our human activities. Plants are underestimated not only because of their omnipresence, but also due to their apparent passivity. In reality, though, plants are complex, extensively interconnected living beings whose existence, as the authors to this volume vividly illustrate, makes human culture possible in the first place. The contributions highlight the importance of plants at the crossroads of biology, cultural sciences, and everyday life. They also examine the technical preparation and cultural transformation of plants as well as perceptions of their liveliness and dignity along the lines of concepts such as the soul and plant rights, biofacts, invasive plants, and patenting.

The essays are accompanied by excerpts from poetry and literature in which the plant plays the role of a motivator and creative force in the arts.
Featuring essays by Veit Braun, Laura Foster, Hans-Werner Ingensiep, Nicole Karafyllis, Florianne Koechlin, Isabel Kranz, Georg Toepfer, and others.

Media Response

10 May 2020
Der Garten – eine Ortsbestimmung zwischen Paradies und Politik

Radio talk with Judith Elisabeth Weiss, in: BR24 (Bayerischer Rundfunk), 10 May 2020