Thanabotany is an emerging field focused on the intersection of plants and people with death, dying, grief and bereavement.

2018 Curtis Gates Lloyd Fellowship Lecture in thanabotany

Learn about Thanabotany and what’s next! Thanks to the Lloyd Library & Museum for funding this research.


Birth of Thanabotany

The field of thanabotany was born in 2018 at the Lloyd Library & Museum with the fellowship of Cole Imperi, who pioneered the study of how the relationships between plants and people (ethnobotany) intersect with the study of death and dying (thanatology). Thanabotanists not only seek to understand plant usage as it relates to the process of dying, they study the significance of plants by the bereaved. Thanabotanists research grave goods (the objects buried with the deceased), old medical texts and the symbolism depicted in ancient art for clues to understand how plants have accompanied us on our journey to the inevitable. Treating the dying and their loved ones with teas, tinctures, salves and even plants grown near the home has been part of shamanism, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine and Appalachian culture.

What thanabotanists study:

  • Plants used in dealing with the bodies of the dead, how they were used and why

  • Plants used in funerary and death-related rituals, how they were used and why

  • Why some plants were used differently depending on the health or prognosis of the patient

  • Folk medicine traditions involving the deceased

  • How this knowledge can contribute to modern life

From Lloydiana, Volume 21, Issue 1, P. 10




Join me as I celebrate the outcome of my research through my time as a Curtis Gates Lloyd Fellow!

This lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 6:30–8:00pm at the Lloyd Library and Museum in downtown Cincinnati.

Registration and additional details here.


Grief Gardens | A Seminar

Join me for a 2 hour (free!) seminar on Grief Gardens on Saturday, May 18 from 1-3pm at the Lloyd Library in Cincinnati. Registration required, details here.


More information will be posted after the fellowship lectures are completed.

Until then, make sure you are on my email list (signup is in the footer of the website, or on the contact page).

We’ll be seeking writers who are interested in publishing content related to Thanabotany, and individuals interested in installing or working on Grief Gardens (any location!).