Year 5 – Politics, Theory and Research
Lesson 1 - Fanged Geranium and OWL talk
Optional Additional Reading
· Note: this section is new this year. Now that you are OWL students you may want to consider doing research outside of class, looking into relevant topics in contemporary and even historical Herbology. You will find that there are various helpful muggle and wizard sources. The reason muggle sources are helpful is that at times they have more research complete on plants than wizards do, due to the advancements they have made since the Gardening Effect has diminished Herbologist’s abilities to research
Hello, and welcome everyone! It is so great to see that you’ve all returned for fifth year Herbology. In this class our focus will be heavily on current research that is being done in the field, especially in relation to Care of Magical Creatures. Do not worry if any of you are not taking Care of Magical Creatures; you will still be able to understand the lesson materials. That being said, if any of you have spare elective room, I do recommend the subject!
I would like to begin by reminding you that you are now in your OWL year, and are going to be treated as OWL students. You are no longer wistful first years, learning to control and manage your magic. You are no longer second and third years, learning the delights of your capabilities and your strengths and weaknesses. You have been a fourth year, working on the choices of what career path you want to study… which is now your responsibility as a mature fifth year. That is to say, as a fifth year you need to be decisive and honest about your future. Remember back in first year when I asked you all about your talents, and then later when I lectured on the importance of your individuality? These questions are even more relevant now, and not just because of plants. What do you care about in life? What passions and desires have been written unto your heart? Is it the current political state of affairs that bother you most? The treatment of house elfs? The devastating affects people’s actions have on the environment? The various forms of slavery people still endure today? What about the conditions of the poor (witch, wizard, squib or muggle) in our country and others around the world? The possibilities are endless, and although you can do a bit to help with many of the unjust and unbearable situations going on around our planet, perhaps there is one issue in particular in which you are really meant to do something about. (If this is the case, feel free to pull me aside if you want to talk about it). Even though you still have time to make choices about what you want to do with your life, it is easy to begin to feel like you are trapped in whatever you have chosen first. I don’t want any of you to feel that way. All of you need to push yourselves to become the best you possible, and there is no way you are being the best you if you find yourself in a line of work you find you no longer enjoy.
When I say all these things, there is a danger of taking it and thinking that you should only be thinking about yourself. This is not the case at all! In fact, to live a happy life I recommend you be as selfless as possible! What I mean when I say you need to discover your talents and use them, is that you need to share your talents with those around you to spread joy. Although I am sure you enjoy receiving gifts, sometimes the greatest feeling comes from giving a gift and seeing how truly another person appreciates it.
When you take your OWLs at the end of the year, I want you all to do well. Your motivation to study may be to get good grades to do well for yourself, but I think there is a greater, deeper motivation possible. The (possibly) best motivation to study is to learn and to discover. When you look over information from previous years you may be able to make connections and notice what you weren’t able to see the first time. You may suddenly feel like your notes are inadequate, and go to the library or records of old classes in order to fill in some previously unperceivable gaps.
I could go on longer, but I trust several of your other professors will have lectures on the importance of OWLs and what they mean to your future. I do try to make mine a little different, but don’t want to go on too long!
Before we begin today’s lesson (following the syllabus) I would like to make a note on the course announcements: Last year’s grading policy is there, for your review. Please do remind yourself of them, especially any of you who may have forgotten what it means to write a sentence over a summer of Quidditch and ice-cream.
Year Five Politics, Theory and Research
Week 1 Fanged Geranium and OWL talk
Week 2 Snake in the Garden I – What is going on in our planet?
Week 3 Research with Care of Magical Creatures I – Plants and Hippogriffs
Week 4 Mary’s Tears AND Lily of the Valley
Week 5 Research with Care of Magical Creatures II – Unicorns, Plants, and Purity
Week 6 Snake in the Garden II – What can we do about it?
Week 7 The Gardening Effect Revisited – Philosophy and Herbology
Week 8 Self-fertilizing Shrubs (and related)
Week 9 Ethics in Herbology /Should I become a NEWT Herbology student?
Fanged Geranium (Geranius combus)
The first thing you need to know about Fanged Geranium is that it bites. Seriously. Don’t just walk up to the plant and squint at it to examine whether or not you feel the colouring of the flower is pleasing to you. Fanged Geranium is a moody (mostly grumpy) Class B plant. It is to be treated with care (always water with Centaur tears if you have them) and placed around the plainest looking plants you have to ensure it does not get jealous. Fanged Geranium are particularly prideful, but flourish well in groups of Geranium. Herbologists have a theory that when they are near each other it is rather like us looking into a mirror: by admiring neighbours the plant is really just complementing itself.
The fangs (or “teeth”) of the Fanged Geranium are used in many potions. Although it has a couple uses, the fangs are typically used for their ability to “cut through” stains and grease. The smaller the pieces of the fang are broken into, the more effective the substance is at uplifting grease and oil stains. Fanged Geranium is actually capable of cleaning its own pot by bending over and gnawing at the grease smudges. One thing you should note is that while you can remove the fangs on the live plant, it is a terrible, horrific, insane idea. The plant will hate you. All your plants will hate you. Hate is not a strong enough word. You don’t typically declaw your kneazle, do you? Didn’t think so. The Fanged Geranium loses its purpose to life if it feels it has no way of protecting itself or the Fanged Geranium around it. By de-fanging it, you take away all sense of worth your plant has and leave it feeling weak and vulnerable. It is such a sad thing to witness.
So, let’s look at a physical description of the Fanged Geranium. First of all, the foliage is vivid green. If you have ever seen a fake plant (a plastic one), that is how the leaves look. They are sometimes described as gummy, and feel slick and ductile. It is rather unnatural to the touch. The flower, which is the most magical part of the plant, can be either red or white; if the flower is white in some lighting (such as the moonlight) it will look like it is glowing in a hue of blue. Inside of the flower are the fangs. Petals from the Fanged Geranium may be used in salads, and have a high iron value. Teas may not be made from the leaves due to the gummy texture.
There is a rather amusing controversy about Fanged Geranium. It has been suggested that the War of the Roses (which was about the competing claims of two royal houses to the English throne) actually began because of two families who were neighbours in the wizarding community were arguing over Fanged Geranium. The war of the Roses was over long before the Statue of Secrecy was introduced, however, and many historians expect that there would have been more evidence if this were true. In actuality, the turmoil between France and England in the Hundred Years War as well as the lack of competence of King Henry VI are far more plausible reasons to me. Either way, the theory that Fanged Geranium started a major historical war is still propagated, and you may believe it if you choose. In fact, how about using that as a discussion board post starter for your fifth year? Feel free to write about why you do or don’t believe neighbours having a dispute over Fanged Geranium could have caused the War of the Roses. While we are on the subject, I must say I’ve always loved Tudor roses. One of my dearest friends has many in her greenhouse, and found that a magical plant bred with hers and now she has one which changes colours based on the season. I’ll attach some of my drawings of it for you all!
As a side note, if you do not do the other additional readings but still want to do the discussion board question, I have a quotation surmising the other proposed causes for the War of the Roses. It is from the second optional reading above, and reads that five major causes of the War of the Roses are that “1) both houses were direct descendants of king Edward III; 2) the ruling Lancastrian king, Henry VI, surrounded himself with unpopular nobles; 3) the civil unrest of much of the population; 4) the availability of many powerful lords with their own private armies; and 5) the debt and other problems lingering from the Hundred Years War.”
Major Review Point
This year I am ending each lesson with a major review point! This is to help keep you on top of studying for your OWL examinations! Since this is the first week of a new year, safety seemed to me to be the best review topic to start with. So, before we go through what we know about safety, I would like all of you to consider a question inside your heads: how has Herbology helped me (or not helped me) in my personal safety as a wizard?
While some of you may not come up with an answer on the spot, I believe that all of you could find at least one occasion. Perhaps in potion class, when you knew to not to treat the plant ingredients lightly because you understood the magical power they possessed. Perhaps on a walk through a forest, when you knew to walk a different way because the plant nearby had a smell which you knew attracted a magical creature beyond the abilities of you and your friends to manage. Perhaps, even, you have found yourself facing a dangerous magical plant, but managed just fine because you’ve paid attention in class. Whatever you have or haven’t done, Herbology is a foundational class for working with plants, but also is a building block for working in other fields of magic. I like to think of Herbology and Charms together as the cornerstones upon which the magical world is built and understood. Hmm, I sense I am headed off topic. So let’s see… what have we learned so far about safety in Herbology.
First of all, we all know to wear protective equipment. The specific equipment we need depends on the plants we are working with, but some standard ones to have are an apron, closed toe shoes, dragonhide gloves, earmuffs, a mask, and a wand. We also know it is important to wear tight clothing, as cloaks and such may get caught on things, or the plants can get under the loose clothes or even grab onto the clothing. You may have seen me working in a dress in some of the greenhouses, but I only do this after placing a spell on my clothing first to make it act as though it were rigidly fitting. This sort of spell is very advanced, and if any of you want to learn it as NEWT students we can talk about it then.
Another important safety tidbit we learned was that when using plants to heal ailments the side effects need to be considered. All natural ingredients does not always make it safer than over the counter potions and medicines. Some plants may cause more harm than healing when not used with due care. It is important to know how much you can use, how often, and if the plant affects pregnant women, their unborn children, young people, old people, people with thin blood, and so on. There is actually a spell you can use to check for contamination. It is contaminatus revelio, with the wand movement of a circle around whatever it is you are trying to check. You must have in your mind everything that you expect to be there, as the spell reveals anything that is out of place according to your expectations.
We also learned that it is a good idea to have antidotes and a friend nearby when working with dangerous plants. Even the best laid plans can go awry, and that is why we also have a plan B and C in Herbology. You can quote me on that one. A friend is great for two reasons: they can contact others in the case you need to go to St. Mungo’s, and can respond immediately in whatever way they can. Even when you have antidotes, it is good to have someone else there who can administer them when you are unable.
Finally, we have learned about the different categories of safety hazards that plants possess. Since there is a lot of information we learned about the categories, I will make a chart on the board here. While I write this information down, I want you all to talk about what the words mean, and how the plants cause the effects that I write down.
Class A – Odorous – discharges powder or gas into air
lvl 1 – can immediately cause death (difficulty breathing)
lvl 2 – can cause death over time (poisoning)
lvl 3 – left defenceless (paralysis, sleep, confusion)
Class B – Physical Attacks – can hurt with “body” (strangle, bite, cut, freeze)
Class C – Toxic – poisonous/venomous plants (plant covered in toxic chemicals, or releases toxins when distressed)
Class D – Infectious – can add/lose this class over lifetime (naturally infectious or diseased)
Class E – Corrosive – can destroy skin with chemicals (acidic burns)
Class F – Reactive – plant reacts to other materials (ka-BOOM!)
Alright! So when you do this week’s homework, don’t forget the discussion question: why you do or don’t believe neighbours having a dispute over Fanged Geranium could have caused the War of the Roses. This year we will have a quiz and an extra credit assignment each week. The extra credit assignments are designed to help you relate what you learn in Herbology to the rest of your life. This time I am not talking about personal safety, but the world’s safety. We are all responsible for maintaining a just and balanced society. Herbology is all about recognizing that it is the little things that matter. You may not be the Minister for Magic, but you are just as responsible as Shacklebolt is for what goes on in our country. In Herbology this year I want you all to think about what you can and will do to impact our world.
See you all next lesson! I am looking forward to seeing your homework.
Autumn: This is what the hybrid rose looks like in the fall months. I like to call a Sunset Rose. Notice the shades of purple and violet (orchid) and magenta. It is my theory that the colours of the rose change to "sunset" colours because this flower is grown in the northern hemisphere, where the days get shorter during the fall.
Winter: In December, the inner petals' shades of violet change to hues of blue. The outer petals remain purple, although the hue appears to be deeper. This one I call the Frozen Rose. Mostly because of the muggle movie. Before that, I called it an "iced Rose." Which name to you all prefer?
Spring: As the weather warms, the hybrid rose's petals turn to shades of pastel. The colours remain blue and purple, but the change is quite drastic to the eye considering how light the colours become. Chocolate egg anyone? I call this an Easter Rose.
Summer: When the hybrid rose adapts into its summer state, I call it the Sunshine Rose. With the golden yellow petals in the centre, orange petals with yellow undertones in the middle, and red outer petals, this flower is sure to remind one of fire. And what is the fire of the summer? The sun! Perhaps our Astronomy Professor would like one of these roses...
Photos for this lesson may be found at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1063363303731496.1073741859.618733468194484&type=3