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Kristin Tutino
Creative Services Department


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Wednesday, October 28 at 8 p.m. – The Botany of Desire

(Rochester, NY) –Flowers. Trees. Plants. We’ve always thought that we controlled them. But what if, in fact, they have been shaping us? Using this provocative question as a jumping off point, The Botany of Desire takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world — seen from the plant’s point of view. Based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book of the same name and narrated by Frances McDormand, The Botany of Desire airs Wednesday, October 28 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable1011/cable11).

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: To make their honey, the bees collect nectar and in the process spread pollen, which contains the flowers’ genes.The Botany of Desire proposes that people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. “We don’t give nearly enough credit to plants,” says Pollan. “They’ve been working on us — they’ve been using us — for their own purposes.”

The Botany of Desire examines this unique relationship through the stories of four familiar species, relating how they evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. Linking fundamental human desires for sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control with the plants that satisfy them — the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato —The Botany of Desire shows that we humans are intricately woven into the web of nature, not standing outside it.

The Botany of Desire argues that the answer lies in the powerful but often overlooked relationship between people and plants. With Pollan as on-screen guide to this frankly sensuous natural world,The Botany of Desire explores the dance of domestication between humans and plants. Through the history of these four familiar plants, the film seeks to answer the question: Who is really domesticating whom?

Pictured: Parrot Tulip in Keukenhoff Gardens, Netherlands. 
Credit: Ruth Dundas


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.