Every Autumn in temperate climes early man begins watching the forest die: the trees shed thier leaves; grasses and flowers wither; only a few evergreens retained a semblance of summer's vitality. Yet come spring, all were reborn: buds burst into leaf, and fresh shoots sprouted from the earth. Surely any beings that resurrected themselves each year must be filled with magic.
Out of nessessity plant life was made into foods, medicine, clothing and shelter. Some plant's behavior must have filled our ancestors with wonder. Why did the sinflower's blossoms turn to track the sun moving across the sky? Why did the morning glory's trumpets open only at daybreal? Unable to find an apparent cause for such behavier, our early ancestors used thier imagionation. They populated the countryside with nymphs and dryads. They animated trees and flowers with gaurdian spirits both benign and evil. In Peru, for example, sun worshipers venerated the sunflower as the earthly embodiment of the sun. And in Japan, morning glories became "jewels of heaven" because thier beauty lured the sun-goddess back into the sky at dawn.
Plants appeared to have magical power: if this could be harnessed and directed, then surely it would afford relief from misfortune and disease, control of the future, and peace with the gods.