Botanical memory: Exploring emotional recollections of native flora in the Southwest of Western Australia

John Charles Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


This paper examines the nexus of ecology, sensory experience, and emotion through the concept of botanical memory. Building upon theoretical precedents in environmental memory, collective memory, sensory memory, bodily memory, and emotional geography, I describe botanical memory as an important cultural convergence between plants and people. An ethnographic approach to the description of botanical memory draws from transcripts of interviews conducted with amateur botanists and tourists during the spring wildflower seasons of 2009-10 in the Southwest of Western Australia. Visitors from outside the region tend to communicate feelings of celebration and appreciation focused on memories of the beauty of wildflowers. In contrast, local residents engaged in conservation efforts tend to emphasize despair over species and habitat losses witnessed during their lifetimes. The paper concludes by stressing the heterogeneous character of botanical memory as a blend of emotionality, sensuousness, and embodiment. Research into botanical memory provides a promising wellspring for uncovering sense-rich emotional connections to flora.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Botanical memory: Exploring emotional recollections of native flora in the Southwest of Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this