English 270: The King James Bible and Its Literary Heritage Patricia L. Skarda,
Spring 2008, 2009, 2012.
Sessions at the Botanic Garden centered on understanding the symbolic valence of
trees, plants, and flowers found in Scripture. Through individual research and class tours of the
Lyman Plant House, the Bulb Show, and outdoor gardens, students learned about uses of plants in
Biblical times for food, fragrance, and medicine, and how these uses contributed to symbolic
meanings and religious traditions found in Scripture. Key species included fig, olive,
pomegranate, etrog (citron), myrrh, frankincense, bullrushes, cypress, palm, cedar, and willow.
To aid in understanding cultivation issues that contributed to the meaning of such plants in
Scripture, students planted and tended examples of these species. The unit culminated in a
research and writing assignment on selected plants of the Bible.