No doubt most Vancouver residents have had unfortunate incidents getting stung by a Stinging Nettle, stepping on a Canada Thistle or catching an aromatic whiff of skunk cabbage.
If not one of those three, there's a good chance one of the other five plants featured on the 'Sh*tty Plants of the Pacific Northwest' have aggravated locals. That's why Sarah Keller chose to depict them on a new poster she has created.
"Those are the plants that I thought of when I thought about plants that are irritating," she says. "The ones at the forefront."
Keller is a teacher in Squamish (having lived in North Vancouver and Vancouver previously) and a part-time painter. She was inspired to create the poster by two things: a trip to Tofino and using vintage-style posters to teach about plants.
"I actually use them in my class a lot and I use them as references," she explains to Vancouver Is Awesome. "But I realized a lot of the trees and the wildflowers we don't have in this area, so it's not super relevant to students."
As an educator, she loves teaching about ethnobotany and plants.
"I really enjoy connecting kids to the plants around the area," she says.
As an artist, she figured she'd make her own, but before that happened, she and her partner took a trip to Tofino where some of the less impressive plants made an impression, and over the summer she decided to create the 'sh*tty' poster.
"I think the coolest thing is everyone has an experience with at least one of these plants," she says, describing her childhood memories of the 'lawn demon' Canada Thistle in her childhood. The sharp plant made quite the impression on her feet.
Along with the aforementioned spiny, stinky and sting-y plants, there are things like Scotch Broom and Giant Hogweed. Along with the watercolour and ink illustrations, Keller included Latin-ish names, like Satanus anusus for skunk cabbage and Bloodin dapie for the Himalayan Blackberry.
There's also little descriptions, like 'land jellyfish' for stinging nettles, 'ow prickly wtf' for Devil's Club and 'helps bears poop lol' for skunk cabbage.
"It's just so silly, the whole time I've been making it I've been laughing at my own jokes," Keller says.
"So far people love it," she says. "I think the coolest thing is everyone has an experience with at least one of these plants."
While this one won't be going to the classroom, she still hopes to create others along the same lines, with a vintage layout and local flora and landmarks.
"I'm working on mountains of the Sea-to-Sky poster now," she says. "And I want to do wildflowers, trees and mushrooms as well."
One thing she's aware of with the 'Sh*tty Plants' poster and plans to incorporate into future work is an indigenous aspect. This first poster was meant as a silly, fun piece, but upcoming work will incorporate local names and First Nations connections to the illustrated items. She's looking to work with the Squamish Nation now, including an ethnobotanist, to include medicinal properties or uses of plants. In the case of the mountains, she'd like to include the names from local First Nations.