This website serves as an archive for the ‘Stokes Croft Herbarium’ exhibition which was curated by Tim Floyd and took place at the Emporium, Bristol in April 2009. The show combined plant specimens with works of art that draw their influence from the plant kingdom.

Living and preserved plants were displayed alongside sculpture, installation, two dimensional pieces and images drawn directly onto the venues walls. The exhibition also featured information about local community allotments and gardening projects and a small 'library' of books to browse through.

Events organised as part of the exhibition included an urban wild food walk around the Stokes Croft area, foraged food preparation and a screening of Bill Mollison's 'Global Gardener' Permaculture documentaries.

The Artwork

Exhibit 21'Forest Carcass'
Digital image printed on water-colour paper. 2009
Chris Cavetroll Drury

Exhibit 24
'Memento Vivere'
Waxes, resin, wood and paper. 2007
Nicky Cornwell

Exhibit 25
Waxes and resin. 2009
Nicky Cornwell

Exhibit 27
Spraypaint and paint-marker on wall. 2009
Tim Floyd

Phytoremediation is the name given to the process of removing man-made contaminants from the environment through the use of living plants or trees grown in situ.
An example of phytoremediation (illustrated here) is planting poplar trees to extract heavy metal contamination from the soil.

Exhibit 31
Waxes and resin. 2009
Nicky Cornwell

Exhibit 34
Spraypain/paint on wall. 2009
Andy Council

Exhibit 36
'New Growth (Version 1)'
Brambles, Bramble roots, found natural materials, mixed media. 2009
Tim Floyd

Exhibit 38
'Adelaide Place'
Installation. 2009
Evie Wonder

Evie Wonder's 'Adelaide Place' installation maps the site of an old motor mechanics garage (which has been demolished and subsequently colonised by plants) using photography, sound, text, found objects, plants and cooking demonstrations.

The Plants

Exhibit 1'Gorse'
Gorse's edible flowers taste like beans and smell like sun-tan lotion.

Exhibit 2
'Aloe Vera'
The clear gel inside it's fleshy leaves can cool a sun-reddened face.

Exhibit 3
A trinity of 'Easter Ledgers'
In northern England Bistort leaves were traditionally an ingredient of a bitter pudding, called Easter Ledger Pudding, that was eaten at Lent.

Exhibit 4
Freshens the breath and soothes the digestion. The roots can be cooked like (small) parsnips.

Exhibit 5
The dried sweet tasting leaves of Stevia are between 18 and 45 times sweeter than sugar.

Exhibit 6
'Sweet Cicely'
A european sweet leaved plant.

Exhibit 7
'Lambs Ears'
Soft to stroke.

Exhibit 8
'St. Johns Wort'
Considered to be a cure for the blues.

Exhibit 9
Simmer the poisonous leaves in water to make an insecticide. Simmer the edible stems with sugar and serve with custard.

Exhibit 10
The branches can be used to make baskets, brushes, brooms and besoms and are sometimes used for thatching roofs.

Exhibit 11
'Land Cress (of some sort)'
Quick to spring up on disturbed soil. The leaves have a hot, spicy watercress flavour.

Exhibit 12
'Ice Plant'
Liked by Honeybees.

Exhibit 13
'Rock Samphire'
This cliff-dwelling plant has a distinctive flavour that has been described on the Plants For a Future database as tasting like 'a mixture of celery and kerosine'. I think it tastes like how you would imagine lemon-fragrance washing-up liquid to taste.

Exhibit 14
Seeds can be used as a mustard substitute. Seed casings can be used to make retro indoor flower arrangements.

Exhibit 15
Khat contains the alkaloid Cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria.

Exhibit 16
'Stonecrop (C)Rockery'
Stonecrop is often used to provide roof coverings for 'green roofs'.

Exhibit 17
'Sea Kale'
Grows wild on beaches around the south coast and has edible fleshy leaves and broccoli-like florets .

Exhibit 18
'Wood Sorrel (Two cultivated varieties)'
Contains oxalic acid which gives the leaves and flowers a sour vinegar-like taste, refreshing to chew in small amounts but toxic in large quantities.

Exhibit 19
Bugle used to be known as 'Carpenters Herb' due to its supposed ability to stem the bleeding from clumsy chisel lacerations.

Exhibit 20
Clovers occasionally have leaves with four leaflets, instead of the usual three. These, like other rarities, are considered lucky. Clovers can also have five, six, or more leaves, but these are more rare. The world record, according to Guinness, is 18.

Exhibit 22
Oldendays use: Teasing the fibres from sheep's wool. Latterday use: Art teachers favorite still life subject.

Exhibit 23
'The BRISTOL Onion'
Bristol has its own onion 'Allium Sphaerocephalon' which is unique to the Avon Gorge.

Exhibit 26
Used by the ancient Brits to flavour their beer.

Exhibit 28
'Common Houseplants'
Both the Umbrella-plant and the Spider-plant can help to reduce indoor air pollution.

NASA tested popular plants for their ability to create oxygen and filter common toxins like trichloroethylene (found in varnishes, paints and adhesives), formaldehyde (present in carpets, furniture and foam insulation), and benzene (found in plastics, synthetic fibres and detergents) to purify the air astronauts breath.
NASA recommends having 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in an 1,800 square-foot home.

Exhibit 29
The inspiration for Velcro.

After taking his dog for a walk one day in the early 1940's, George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, became curious about the seeds of the Burdock plant that had attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog's fur. Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals aiding seed dispersal, and he realised that the same approach could be used to join other things together. The result was Velcro.

Exhibit 30
'Primitive Plants'

Exhibit 35
'Prickly Pear'
When stripped of their prickles the pads and fruit of this cactus can be eaten.

Exhibit 37
A native tree/shrub which can produce straight poles and edible nuts.

Exhibit 39
'Stinging Nettle fibre'
A little bundle of soft fibres obtained from nettles.

Exhibit 40
'An assortment of uncategorised plants'