Why a book about herbs named after birds? I’m not really sure, but the idea took flight one evening while watching geese returning to the north in late spring.
It was geese, to gooseberry to goose grass, to duckweed, to bird’s foot trefoil and away it went, in my mind. Chicken of the woods, bird’s nest and turkey tail next came to mind. I then began to explore the phrase “birds of a feather”, and realized that herbalism is often a lonely profession; colleagues and students are special and rare.
A feather in one’s cap signifies a special or distinct accomplishment, and it is true that herbal studies are often associated with inner learning and integration. The expression “in fine or good feather” means to be in good humor or health, and that is the whole idea of this book. A bird in the hand suggests you are already in possession of something such as this book, while two birds in the bush are something unsure or tentative. So take a gander. If you are a night owl, all the better.
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