I love gardening so much that I figure there must be dirt running through my veins, but not everyone feels the same way. Many people dislike mucking about in the dirt and have an actual fear of plants and flowers. Strange as it may seem to some, it turns out that there is actually a slew of common plant and garden-related phobias.
How Can You Be Afraid of Plants?
Whether they admit it or not, everyone fears something. For many people, it’s an actual fear of plants and flowers. Considering the world is covered in plants, this phobia can be extremely serious and curtail a person’s lifestyle.
Two of the most common plant phobias are botanophobia, the often irrational fear of plants, and anthophobia, the fear of flowers. But both botanophobia and anthophobia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to garden phobias.
Some garden phobias are more specific than a general fear of plants. A fear of trees is called dendrophobia, while a fear of vegetables (beyond a four-year-old’s distaste) is called lachanophobia. Dracula no doubt would have alliumphobia, the fear of garlic. Mycophobia is a fear of mushrooms, which might not actually be an irrational fear given that many mushrooms are poisonous.
Other common phobias related to gardening have to do with insects, actual dirt or disease, or even of water, sun, or weather conditions. General insect fear is called insectophobia or entomophobia, but there are plenty of insect-specific phobias as well such as a fear of bees, apiphobia, or mottephobia, the fear of moths.
Some people have a fear of rain (ombrophobia) or heliophobia (fear of the sun). What makes all this most tragic is that often one phobia coincides with another or even many fears, which can shut down a person’s ability to lead a life of their own choosing.
Reasons for Common Plant Phobias
Plant, herb, or flower phobias may stem from a variety of issues. They may be linked to a traumatic life event often at an early age. They may trigger feelings of loss related to the death of a loved one. Or they may be related to an injury experienced via plant life, such as getting poked by stinging nettles or roses, or getting poison ivy. Garden phobias may even be aroused by allergies, such as an allergy to onions or garlic.
Sometimes botanophobia is caused by superstitious beliefs related to plants. Many cultures have folk tales regarding the presence of witches, demons, or other evil entities in plants and trees, which frankly sounds a little terrifying even to me.
A more modern basis for plant phobias is that indoor plants suck oxygen from a room at night, completely ignoring the fact that plants actually emit ten times the oxygen during the day over what they use at night.
Garden phobias are often more complex in nature and caused by several factors. Heredity and genetics may come into play along with brain chemistry and life experience. Treatment for plant-related phobias often takes a multi-pronged approach combining various therapeutic approaches with medication.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.