The Botany of Desire Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Michael Pollan
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. The plants that form flowers and encased seeds began to emerge on the earth during the _______ period.

2. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who knew a thing or two about natural history, called the apple, _______

3. In Holland, between 1634 and 1637, there was a collective frenzy around flowers known as ________.

4. According to the book, species tulips in Turkey typically come in ______ and less commonly in white or yellow.

5. Pollan refers to the _____ as the gothic femme fatale in the masculine world of tulips.

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Pollan says that he thinks tulips really were flowers which were designed for children?

2. What is the classic example of coevolution that Pollan presents at the start of the book?

3. What are some of the ways in which flowers have been created to attract the attention of humans, according to Pollan?

4. What happens as a result of having perfect symmetry in a flower, according to Pollan's writing in the book?

5. What does the presence of flowers tend to tell a person about the area in which they are walking or traveling?

6. Who are some of the groups which roamed the Ohio lands long before Johnny Appleseed was there?

7. Why did Pollan plant tulip bulbs when he was a child, according to his own reflections?

8. How did the tulip bulb end up coming into Holland, even though it was not a native plant in the area?

9. What did the Ottoman Turks discover about the wild tulips they found during one of their trips?

10. What is the question which arises in Pollan's mind when he thinks about planting and growing the potatoes?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One might suggest that the idea that apples are shaping human existence is based on speculation as opposed to scientific study.

Part 1: Do you think that apples have affected the human race as a whole?

Part 2: How might a scientist study the sweetness and the effects of apples on humans?

Part 3: Is science the only way that a definitive answer can be discovered? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

While the potato is easy to grow, it became a plant of vital importance as Ireland rebounded from the Potato Famine.

Part 1: Why do you think the potato famine was so devastating to Ireland?

Part 2: Do you think it's wise for any country to rely strictly on one crop for its food supply?

Part 3: How do you think Ireland could have avoided the devastation they encountered during the famine?

Essay Topic 3

This book, "The Botany of Desire," is generally listed as a Nature and Gardening book, though this does not seem to be its only application.

Part 1: Why do you think this book is labeled as being a Nature and Gardening book?

Part 2: Do you agree with the idea that this should be labeled as a Nature and Gardening book? What other labels might apply?

Part 3: How do you think the book's message is perceived by those who are merely reading for the Nature and Gardening aspect?

(see the answer keys)

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