Lesson 3) Research with Care of Magical Creatures I – Plants and Hippogriffs

Herbology 501

Professor Rowan



Year 5 - Politics, Theory, and Research

Lesson 3 - Research with Care of Magical Creatures 1 - Plants and Hippogriffs


Lesson Objectives:

  • For the students to be able to recognize the connection between plants and everything
  • Students should have a grasp of Hippogriffs, based upon the plants discussed
  • Students may be capable of explaining the meaning of community when reflecting upon Herbology

Optional Readings:

  • Research Ethics - Potions Year 2 Lesson 2
  • Hippogriffs - Care of Magical Creatures Year 5 Lesson 5

Good morning, class!  It’s so nice to see your bright, smiling faces.  Today, we are going to look at how magical creatures, specifically Hippogriffs, interact with plants.  Before we start, let’s look at some background information first.

Research Ethics

Remember when we looked at research ethics in Potions, it was more geared towards clinical trials on witches and wizards.  When we look at research ethics in plants, and in creatures, we must be certain that we collect our specimens ethically, meaning no harm should come to them.  We have to watch out not to take more than is required and we should take the specimens from different areas so as to not thin out or eliminate the species altogether in that area.  We must treat both plants and creatures with respect, as they are living entities.   


In Care of Magical Creatures, Year 5 Lesson 5, you will be learning about Hippogriffs.  A Hippogriff is a large magical creature.  Its front legs, wings, and head is that of an eagle and its hind legs, body, and tail is that of a horse.  Its front legs have a 15 centimetre long deadly talon.  It has large, brilliant orange eyes.  It has a sharp, gunmetal-coloured beak and feathers on its front half with it changing to fur on its hind half.   

A Hippogriff is typically white, grey, black, bronze, chestnut, or pinkish roan in colour.  It is classified as XXX, Beast, by the Ministry of Magic.  It is an omnivore, meaning it eats both vegetation and meat.


When breeding, a Hippogriff builds its nest on the ground.  It will only lay one egg, which is very fragile.  The egg will normally hatch within 24 hours.  The hatchlings will be able to fly short distances about a week after birth.

Their nests are very intricate and are made in a weaving pattern with grasses and flowers.  It is the male who will bring the plants to make the nest.  One special plant it likes are pussywillow puffs, which are used to line the nest to make it extra soft for the fragile egg.  The male will also bring a hard grass, typically Ling, for the outside of the nest and a softer grass, usually Deer Fern, for the inside of the nest.  

Pussywillows (family Salicaceae, genus Salix)

Pussywillows come in shrub and tree form and require minimal attention to grow. They are native to northern Europe, northwest Asia, and North America.  They will grow well in any type of soil but one should supplement the soil with peat moss or leaf mould.  A boggy area is best but they are also found in wetlands, on streambanks, and in open forests.   They require full to part sun to thrive and require lots of water, preferably Centaur Tears or rainwater.  

Pussywillows can grow from two to six metres tall, with reddish-brown to yellowish, hairy or hairless twigs.  Leaves are elliptic to oval, to about 14 cm long with soft hairy to nearly hairless on both surfaces.  The margins are entire or toothed.  The soft hairy catkin is what is commonly collected.  

Even though Pussywillows do not need pruning in a garden setting, it is best to do so.  However, do not prune until the flowers have faded.  They can have deep invasive roots so you have to take care where you plant your Pussywillow.  You do not want them to harm your other plants.

Before the male catkin blooms, they are covered in fine, greyish fur that are known for their likeness to cats and are called puffs.  Hippogriffs like to bring back Pussywillow puffs, or furry catkins, to line the nest and make it soft.

Willow bark has been used for centuries to relieve pain, inflammation and fever.  As a tea, it is used for treating diarrhea and other digestive problems, headaches, arthritis, rheumatism, and urinary tract irritations.

The young shoots and leaves, buds, and inner bark of the willow are edible.  They can be eaten raw or cooked but are rather bitter because they are rich in vitamin C.  Young spring leaves can be dried and used to make tea or soup.  They are said to taste similar to watermelon or cucumber.  The inner bark can be dried and ground into flour.

Ling (family Ericaceae, genus Calluna)

Ling, also called Heather, was grown on the Hogwarts grounds when Armando Dippet was Headmaster of Hogwarts.  It is a low growing shrub with bright purple flowers.  It grows in Europe at a height of about 20 to 50 centimeters tall in acidic soil.  It prefers full sun or moderate shade.  It can be found in moorlands, bog vegetation, and acidic pine and oak woodlands.  It is managed by sheep or cattle grazing.  

Its leaves are about 2 to 3 millimetres long in opposite pairs.  Delicate purple flowers grow up the branches.  The branches are woody and coarse, making a strong, outer shell of the nest. Flowers can be added to the nest for fragrance.

Ling is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and in flower arrangements. In gardens, Ling are required to be pruned once a year and have good drainage.  A good feeding fertilizer is recommended. Twigs can be used to make brooms, as well as fuel for fires.

Ling leaves and flower petals make potent tea for cleansing the body and for infections.  It is used for arthritis, gout, and cystitis.   It is also used for treatment of bladder, kidney, and liver infections.  From flowering shoots, it can help coughs and colds, and is used as a mild sedative.  Excessive amounts of this tea may cause damage to the liver.

Deer Fern (family Blechnaceae, genus blechnum)

Deer Fern is native to Europe and western North America.  Even though there are two types of leaves, the Hippogriff will only choose the lush, flat, wavy-margined leaflets, which are five to eight millimetre wide and 10 to 50 centimetres long, to line the nest as bedding.

Deer Fern is a tufted, evergreen fern with slender stems and is short-creeping.  It grows in moist to wet, coniferous forests, bogs, and stream sides.  Deer Fern can be used both indoors and outdoors as an ornamental plant, providing good ground cover in the shade of trees.

As food, Deer Fern is used as a starvation food when there is nothing else available.  The young, tender stalks can be peeled and the centre portion eaten.  When witches or wizards are lost, they can eat the fronds (leaves) to relieve hunger, and the young stems can be chewed to alleviate thirst.

The leaflets can be chewed to treat internal tumours and respiratory and gastric complaints.  A tonic from the leaves can be made to relieve general ill health.  Diarrhea can be treated with the rhizome (horizontal underground stem) held in the mouth.  The fronds were also applied externally to skin sores.


A Hippogriff’s diet consists of insects, birds, and small mammals such as ferrets.  If this is not available, it will eat worms.  In order for the Hippogriff to scavenge for food, it uses its sense of smell.  Hippogriffs can sniff out their prey by the smell of the plants, insects, birds, or small mammals like to immerse themselves in.

Honeysuckle (family Caprifoliaceae, genus Lonicera)

Honeysuckles are found in the Northern Hemisphere.  They are a twining, woody vine, which can climb five metres or more.  They also come in a shrub form.  They have opposite, simple, oval leaves that grow to about 10 centimetres long.  The flowers are sweet scented and bell shaped, which are about two to four centimetres long.  The flowers contain a sweet edible nectar from which birds and insect like to drink.  The flowers come in yellow, yellow-orange, orange, and red, and grow in dry forests, thickets, and rocky slopes.  The fruit comes in colours of blue, black, or red, and contain several seeds.

Honeysuckle can be used for a variety of ailments.  The leaves made into an infusion are used for contraception.  As a decoction, it is used for colds and tuberculosis.  An infusion of the twigs is ingested as a tonic and is used for colds, sore throats, and, in small amounts, epilepsy.  Chewed leaves are used as a poultice to treat bruises.  A tea made from its peeled stems is used for urine retention.

As food, the flowers produce a sweet nectar at their base that can be sucked out.  The stem can be used as building materials and fibres for mats, baskets, bags, and blankets.  The hollow stem is used by children as a straw.  

Larkspur (family Ranunculaceae, genus Delphinium)

The Larkspur is a perennial flowering plant with a sweet smell.  It is found in the Northern Hemisphere.  The stem is about 10 to 15 centimetres in height with small clusters of about three to 12 flowers of bluish purple flowers.  The flowers are five spreading, petal-like sepals below four small petals.  The leaves are palmately divided.   The fruit is a cluster of pods with spreading tips.  It grows in moist, open woods and grasslands, and on streambanks.  The sweet nectar from this plant is enjoyed by insects.  

This is a toxic plant to witches, wizards, and cattle.  Symptoms of poisoning include burning mouth, tingling skin, nausea and cramps, weak pulse, breathing difficulties, nervousness, and depression or excitement.  Some witches and wizards develop skin allergies to Larkspur.  Toxicity decreases as the plant matures, usually in the late summer.

Teas and tinctures are used to kill lice and treat scabies.  Infusions are used for diarrhea, frothy mouth, and fainting.

The flowers can be used to create a light blue dye for quills.  This plant can be used as an ornament in gardens, as cut flowers, or in floristry.

Jasmine (family Oleaceae, genus Jasmineae)

Jasmine can be either evergreens or deciduous.  They are usually found in warmer climates but one species grows in Europe.  It can be a climbing or spreading vine or shrub.  The leaves are either opposite or alternate, simple or pinnately.  The flowers come in white or yellow and are about 2.5 centimetres wide.  The flowers can be in clusters or as a single on a branch.  They have about four to nine petals.  The flower is very fragrant, which attract both birds and insects.

Jasmine tea is made with the base being green, white or oolong tea.  Jasmine is used in rituals, marriages, hair ornaments, and the perfume industry.  

Jasmine is used as an aphrodisiac, to increase immunity, and to treat fevers.   Teas are used to fight urinary infections and to relieve stress and anxiety.  As a tincture, it is used for scrapes and cuts.  Oil is used in aromatherapy.   


Hippogriffs are very prideful creatures.  During the mating season the male Hippogriff will roll in different plants so that it smells good for the female.  If she likes the smell, she will choose that Hippogriff to mate with.  Witches and wizards will also use flower smells, such as perfumes or colognes, to attract a mate.

Peony (family Paeniaceae, genus Paeonia)

Peonies are flowering plants that are usually found in gardens in southern Europe, Asia, and western North America.  If you can recall, the Weasleys had peonies growing in their garden, but unfortunately gnomes had burrowed under them and they had to de-gnome their garden in 1992.

Peonies are large herbaceous flowering plants, which are about 0.25 to one metre in height.  They have lobed leaves.  The flowers come in red, pink, white, or yellow.  They can have up to 13 petals.  The flower is very fragrant and attracts birds and insects.  

Peonies are an antioxidant, antitumour, antipathogenic, help the immune system, and protect the cardiovascular system and central nervous system.  The root, and sometimes the seeds, are used to make medicine.  It is used for gout, osteoarthritis, breathing difficulties, fevers, coughs, nerve pain, migraines, and chronic fatigue syndrome, to name a few.

Peonies are used to flavour food.  They are used as garnishes in soups, salads, and desserts.

Galanthus Nivalis (family Amaryllidaceae, genus Galanthus)

Galanthus Nivalis is also known as the common snowdrop.  This plant is used in potion making, and Professor Snape kept jars of these plants in his office during the 1990s.

Snowdrops are perennial, herbaceous plants that grow from bulbs.  They grow seven to 15 centimetres in height in northern temperate climates.  Each bulb produces two to three linear leaves and one flowering stalk, which bears one bell shaped white flower.  Snowdrops bloom in the spring and form massive carpets of white flowers.

It is now illegal to collect snowdrops because the species is beginning to die out.  With permission and a permit from the Ministry of Magic, a Herbologist may collect a very limited amount of bulbs.

Snowdrops are used as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease, memory problems, poliomyelitis, trigeminal neuralgia, and nerve pain.

Jewelweed (family Balsaminaceae, genus Impatiens)

Jewelweed is an annual plant, native to North America, but has since migrated to Northern Europe.  It is usually found in ditches, moist, shaded woodlands, and along creeks.  It grows 50 centimetres to 1.5 metres in height.  It has a succulent, smooth stem.  Its leaves are alternate, elliptic to oval and about three to 10 centimeters long with irregularly toothed margins.  Its flowers are about 2.5 centimetres long, with three sepals.  The two upper sepals are small and pale, while the third sepal is elongated and sac-shaped, with one end open and the other end tapering onto a narrow, nectar-bearing spur.  The fruit is clubbed-shaped, up to two centimetres long, and can spit explosively to release its seeds.


The seeds are edible and have a walnut flavour.  The young succulent stems can be cooked like green beans, however, they must be boiled for 10 to 15 minutes in two changes of water.

A potent extract of Jewelweed is used in Fergus Fungal Budge.  It is also an antidote for poison ivy rashes.

Major Review Point

Caring for Plants

So, how much do you all remember about how to care for plants?  You will need this information for your O.W.L.S.  I hope you remember a whole lot!  I mean, it is only just a central part of Herbology.  First of all, there are the stages in a plant’s life.  Then, there are the factors in caring for plants.  Last of all, there is what you do with the plant when you are done growing it!




Planting a plant in the correct soil is imperative.  A plant may require an acidic soil, a neutral soil, or an alkaline soil type. The pH of soil measures its acidity or alkalinity.  On the pH scale, 7.0 is neutral.  Below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline.  The spell to find out the pH of a soil is Acidious Revealious, as we learned in Year 1, Lesson 7.

The depth of the planting of a seed is important.  Some seeds need more depth than others.  If a seed is planted too deep, it may take longer to germinate, or may not germinate at all.  If it is planted too close to the surface, it could be dug up by creatures or receive too much water.

If planting in a pot, there must be drainage holes for the unused water to come out.  Otherwise, you could drown your seed, or the moisture could cause the seed to become mouldy.


Repotting is a special time for a plant.  The plant is unable to grow any further in its pot holder and requires a larger pot.  The plant itself will enjoy a larger pot in which to grow and it will boosts the plant’s confidence.  A plant’s diet may change, where for example in Year 1 Lesson 2, we learned that Flesh-Eating plants double their intake, whereas the Gavait Roots will eat two thirds less than before repotting.




Different plants require different amounts of sunlight.  There are five types of sunlight requirements:  Full sun, Partial sun, Shade, Moonlight, and Darkness.  To be a healthy plant and to prevent wilting and death, Herbologists need to provide the plant with the correct amount of sunlight.


Water is an important component to a plant’s health.  Some plants require more water than others.  During repotting, the amount of water a plant needs may increase or decrease.  Also the type of water is important.  Some plants can be watered with ordinary tap water, whereas some plants may need to be watered with Centaur Tears.  Other plants may require salt water to grow whereas salt water may kill other plants.  Some plants prefer rain water.


Herbologists need to know whether their plant requires food and at what stage.  This food helps them grow healthier.  Some plants require food during the initial potting, which may include peat moss, compost, or a vegetation-type mixture.  Some plants require fertilizer, such as Dragon Dung or Mooncalf Dung.  As we learned in Year 1 Lesson 1, Dragon Dung is scentless and stronger, whereas Mooncalf Dung is for more delicate plants.  Some plants require food in the spring whereas other in the autumn.


Pruning is required for fruit and flowering plants.  Never prune evergreens.  It is a time when the older or dead leaves, flowers, and limbs are removed.  As we learned in Year 2 Lesson 7, fruit and flowering plants should be pruned in their dormant season, which is usually the winter.  Perennial plants are the most work, as they need to be pruned as soon as their flower fades.  You should always use clean, sharp tools for pruning, as you can spread diseases with unclean tools.  When pruning, cut the branches where they meet the stem.  If a new bud is forming, cut below that.  Make your cuts facing away from you, flush with the limbs.  Where you make your cuts is where your plant is going to become fuller, so trim evenly around your plants.


As we learned in Year 1 Lesson 2, habitats bring about a lot of controversy in Herbology.  Plants grow in a specific region naturally as a native plant but over time, plants have been moved to different regions where they are not native.  When plants are moved to non-native lands and thrive, they may create a new strain of that particular plant.  Other plants may thrive too much and become an invasive species.  In order for a non-native plant to survive in a new environment, depends on the sunlight, water, and temperature of the area.


In Year 1, Lesson 2, we learned that lifespans is a delicate topic.  A plant’s life can be cut short through research or medicinal purposes.  This is where ethics plays an important role so that a whole species is not wiped out.  Outside of this, the normal lifespan of a plant is from three years to 5,000 years.  Trees tend to live the longest.

Done growing!



Herbologist must harvest plants when the plant is at maturity.  This is the end stage of the growth period of the plant and its fruit or flowers are ready to pick.  When picking your fruit or flowers, it must be done carefully, so as not to intimate or injure the plant, as the plant will probably have many more growing seasons.  Singing to the plant is one way in which a Herbologist can calm and soothe the plant.  If one is not familiar with the plant, it is best to sing quietly.  If the plant withdraws from you, it is harder to see where to cut.  Harvesting can occur from the spring to late autumn depending on the plant.  Harvesting is the same as pruning, only you are looking for the healthy part to cut.  Make sure that there are no creatures that you will disturb by harvesting.  One spell we learned in Year 3 Lesson 7 to determine whether a plant was ready for harvesting was Maturo Revelio.  This creates an aura around the plant which tells you if a plant is ready for harvesting.  The colours you are looking for are yellow, which indicates the fruit is still ripening but ready for picking for long term storage; green, which indicates the fruit is perfectly ripe; and blue, which means that the fruit is overripe but some is salvageable.


Different plants require different storage.  Some need to be dried, fresh, or blanched before storage.  Some need light while others need darkness.  Some need warmth while others need cold storage.  Two spells we learned in Year 4, Lesson 3 to help with storage are Praecentia, which keeps the plant in a coma-like state for 1000 days; and Tempore Subsistio, which freezes the plant in time until it is exposed to fresh water.  It is very important that a Herbologist correctly label all ingredients.  In 1783, a lawful method of labelling was established by the Ministry of Magic.  Here is the standard label:


Latin Name (Common Name)            Classification(s) (if applicable)

Date Stored

What is in the jar of the plant

Details on Classifications


Plants can be used in potions to add scents and tastes.  Some plants are used for their freshness or naturality.  In medicinal potions, plants are used based on their toxicity, temperament, and other properties of their identity.  Some plants are hard enough to make furniture, some can be made into clothing, while others can be made into carpets or mats.


In this lesson, we learned about the plants that Hippogriffs use for birthing, scavenging, and mating.  We learned about the Pussywillow, Ling, Deer Fern, Honeysuckle, Larkspur, Jasmine, Peonies, Snowdrops, and Jewelweed.

Next, we reviewed the caring of plants.  We looked at planting and repotting, factors to consider, harvesting, storing, and uses of plants.




There will be a short quiz to review the subject matter.

EC Assignment

This is a 300 hundred word assignment where you will connect caring for plants with caring for yourself and others.  Think back to caring for your dandelions or whichever plants you cared for in Year 2 or 3 (whichever year you completed this assignment) and write a comparison.

Photos for todays lesson may be found at https://www.facebook.com/hogwartsishereherbology/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1276435012424323

New Year Five Herbology lessons will be posted as soon as possible.

To continue to receive house points, you may choose to complete these lessons.

Thank you for your patience,
Professor Rowan