When I tell people that I make my living in botany, they often guess at what that means. Some have no sense for the word. Others imagine me on slow strolls through meadows, sniffing wildflowers and communing with songbirds.
I also often get asked if being a botanist means that I grow marijuana.
I have been asked this by folks of all ages and statuses, from “Joe Publics” on adjacent barstools to potential donors being courted at fundraising events. Once, on an airplane, I was drawn into a long conversation with a military veteran about the efficiency of hydroponics. Another time I was invited to jump in on a land deal so that we (my potential business partner and I) could start building supply in anticipation of “when the state finally makes it legal.” This sort of thing has happened enough that not only am I unsurprised when it occurs but I have begun to anticipate that it will.