About This Site
My name is Kevin Healey, and I have a highly contagious passion for ethnobotany.
What is ethnobotany? Well, I'm glad I asked myself! Ethnobotany is the study of the human-plant relationship: how people use/used plants for food, medicine, and other traditional/ceremonial applications throughout history. It is a multi-disciplinary scientific field that involves chemists, botanists, archeologists, historians, and (tah-dah) tireless researchers that want to taste everything. Hi! That last one is me. I also hope to identify and test medicinal plant secondary metabolites for bioactivity in a laboratory setting one day, but I'll save that for later.
About this Site
Aren't you curious to know what ancient medicines you step on routinely? Wouldn't you be surprised to know that there is a gigantic yam that grows freaking "potatoes" on its vine? Perhaps you'd be interested to learn about a fruit that explodes when ripe, a berry that changes sour flavors sweet, or a flower that makes your mouth feel like it is receiving an electric buzz? Don't act all cool... of course you are interested! This stuff is right out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory and we have a golden ticket.
PUYP explores unusual plants that can be used as food and medicine. "Unusual," in the context of this site, means plants that either have highly interesting properties, or plants that you don't normally see in your grocery store. Some of these plants will come from far away, while others you can find in your own backyard.
Well, it is a pleasure having you! Welcome to the incredible, edible, wild, and weird world of Pull Up Your Plants!
Don't worry about staying on the path. Wander, Traveller!
I graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in chemistry with honors from Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colorado in May of 2018 as member of the beta-beta-beta biological honors society (Go Thunderwolves!). My work history includes both laboratory experience with plant tissue culture micropropagation, biostatistics, field botany biodiversity surveys, and a whole litany of things that most people do not feel like reading about right now. So, unless you want to request my resume by emailing email@example.com. Let's just say it is my professional dream to join a lab involved in drug discovery using traditional medicine.
Now, onto the slightly less-nerdy stuff.
My passion for edible plants began when I was a wee-lad toddling around the playground of Tinicum Elementary school in Pennsylvania. I pulled up a piece of grass and noticed a small white bulb on the end of it. I thought, gee, that looks like an onion. In fact, it smelled like an onion. Maybe it was an onion! Maybe I just discovered onions!
In fact, I did discover onions... you are all welcome.
Anyhow, I didn't dare eat it, but the notion that onions could be growing all over the place made me feel like there was a world of secrets in plain sight. Are potatoes down there?
Years later, in the third grade, a man I owe a whole lot to took my class on a trip to the John Hienz Wildlife Preserve. He showed us pokeweed, milkweed, staghorn sumac berries, and a whole world of other characters. I was amazed and grateful that he took the time to share his secrets with us. That man gifted me a lifelong passion for sharing my esoteric knowledge of edible and medicinal plants with anyone who maintains that childlike spirit of wonder in their heart. I'll never forget what he showed us; it is a great regret that his name fell out of my memories.
I could relay far more pastoral stories involving mulberry trees and childhood crushes, but all of that doesn't matter now. I have a little son of my own, and the main reason for this site is to create a repository of knowledge for this world he is joining.
It is my greatest wish to share this sense of wonder with the world as it was gifted to me.
If you would like to sponsor this site, or would like a resume, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.patreon.com/pullupyourplants