The Illustrated Herbiary

Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals


By Maia Toll

Illustrated by Kate O’Hara

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$24.95 CAD



  1. Hardcover $19.95 $24.95 CAD
  2. ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 7, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Celebrate the wild wisdom of 36 herbs, fruits, and flowers in this award-winning book by herbalist Maia Toll, featuring rich illustrations by artist Kate O’Hara, and oracle cards for each plant to help guide your personal reflections. 

Rosemary is for remembrance; sage is for wisdom. Would meditating on the starflower help heal you? Does the spirit of sweet violet have something to offer you today? Contemporary herbalist Maia Toll, author of The Illustrated Bestiary and The Illustrated Crystallary, profiles the mystical, magical, bewitching personalities of 36 powerful herbs, fruits, and flowers in this stunning volume. The book includes a deck of 36 beautifully illustrated oracle cards — one for each plant — and ideas for readings and rituals to help you access your intuition, navigate each day's joys and problems, and tap into each plant's unique powers for healing, guidance, and wisdom.

Also available: The Illustrated Bestiary, The Illustrated Crystallary, Maia Toll's Wild Wisdom CompanionThe Illustrated Herbiary Collectible Box Set, The Illustrated Bestiary Collectible Box Set, The Illustrated Herbiary Oracle Cards, The Illustrated Bestiary Oracle Cards, The Illustrated Crystallary Oracle Cards, The Illustrated Herbiary Puzzle, The Illustrated Bestiary Puzzle, The Illustrated Crystallary Puzzle, and Maia Toll's Wild Wisdom Wall Calendar.


To the wild ones and the mythic souls who walk amongst us, unseen . . .

. . . And to Gina McGarry, for teaching me to listen for them.




The Herbiary

Chickweed: Start Fresh

Daisy: Be Yourself

Red Clover: Center and Ground

Sweet Violet: Inner Sanctum

Apple: Forbidden Fruit

White Sage: Clear the Way

Self-heal: Ripple Outward

Thyme: Distill Your Self

Dandelion: Perseverance

Burdock: Tap Your Resources

Rose: Crack Open

Raspberry: Create Space

Hawthorn: Heart's Home

Plantain: Rewild

Valerian: Release Rigidity

California Poppy: Resurrection

Mugwort: Between Dreams

Elderberry: Cyclicality

Lady's Mantle: Fortitude

Starflower: Finding Grace

Lavender: Tough Love

Comfrey: What Needs Mending?

Marshmallow: A Spoonful of Sugar

Yarrow: Pocket of Protection

Oats: Just Be

St. John's Wort: Light in the Darkness

Trillium: Spirit into Matter

White Willow: The Ways of Water

Quaking Aspen: We Are One

Mullein: Integration

Reishi: Defying Gravity

Passionflower: Exuberant Quietude

Nettle: Pay Attention!

Tulsi: You Are Sacred

Vervain: Let Magic In

Rosemary: Remembrance

How to Work with the Herbiary Cards


About the Author

Enjoy Better Health, Mindfulness, and Nature's Wonders with these Books from Storey

Share Your Experience!

A bestiary is a collection of short descriptions about all sorts of animals, real and imaginary, birds and even rocks, accompanied by a moralising explanation. Although it deals with the natural world it was never meant to be a scientific text and should not be read as such. Some observations may be quite accurate but they are given the same weight as totally fabulous accounts. . . . A great deal of its charm comes from the humour and imagination of the illustrations, painted partly for pleasure but justified as a didactic tool "to improve the minds of ordinary people, in such a way that the soul will at least perceive physically things which it has difficulty grasping mentally: that what they have difficulty comprehending with their ears, they will perceive with their eyes." (Aberdeen Bestiary, folio 25v, circa 1200).

- University of Aberdeen, The Aberdeen Bestiary MS24 About the Manuscript (from the website)

An herbiary is a collection of short writings about botanicals: medicinal, decorative, and whimsical. Although it alludes to healing properties, it was never meant to be prescriptive. Many observations are quite accurate, but they should not be seen as superior to creative or fanciful descriptions and symbolic flights of fancy. A great deal of its charm comes from the depth and creativity of its illustrations, allowing us to see what otherwise would remain hidden.

- Maia Toll


The bus rolled through the Irish countryside, pulling over from time to time so the driver could shout a greeting to a gentleman corralling sheep off the road or a woman parking her car a few blocks from the next station stop.

What I remember now, more than a dozen years later, is the vibrancy of the green that surrounded us. The air seemed to shimmer with it, the color refracting and multiplying.

I had come to Ireland to study plants, apprenticing myself to a traditional healer and herbalist for a year's span. I was to live in her house, help with the gardens and medicine making, sit with her as clients came to call, and, through osmosis, learn a calling that has always been as much an art as a science.

Back home in the States we focused on the science. We justified using "alternative medicine" by pointing to properly conducted studies with statistically significant control groups. We could make the sensuous beauty of a rose as dry and antiseptic as an aspirin tablet . . . and feel justified in doing so because it gained a modicum of acceptance, albeit grudging, for this age-old healing practice.

But in the emerald swath of Ireland's center, near the Hill of Uisneach (said to be the umbilicus of the island), I learned the art of botanical medicine and the magic of coming into communion with the plant world. And that has changed everything for me.

I want to gift you this sense of connection.

Connection with the plant world may seem a small thing, but once you step into it you'll realize it is profound and playful, granular and encompassing. Whether this is a first step on your journey into the green world or a reminder of magic you've come to know deeply, I hope this book, this herbiary, ignites your imagination, your passion, and your love for living in deep connection with the earth.


"Apprenticed to a medicine woman" sounds terribly romantic. Indeed, at times it was terrible, and at times it was romantic. Sometimes it was mystical, but most often it was simply lonely.

Living in the middle of cow pastures with no car, an hour's walk from town, leads to introspection, experimentation, and a lot of listening — to the wind, to the birds, and to the plants.

I ended up studying herbalism after the Manhattan medical community scratched their collective heads and said, "You're obviously sick but we don't know why." After seven years of reading and experimenting on my own, I landed in Ireland, living and learning from a woman who was by turns a scientist, a witch, a gardener, and a detective.

I was continually flabbergasted that this was my life. And yet I was finding more wisdom in this little house set among the Irish cattle fields than I'd found in three years of graduate school, which, though it filled my head with information, left me feeling strangely flat.

I spent evenings taking advantage of my teacher's prodigious library, reading and studying in the manner I'd mastered at the university. During the day I dug in the dirt, drank teas that tasted like salad (or the dirt I'd just been digging in!), and learned to use my nose to tell plantain tincture from nettle vinegar. One of my teacher's favorite games was to take the caps off dozens of bottles of essential oils and leave me to sniff out which cap went on which bottle.

This was somatic learning at its finest. My body began to know all sorts of things and in the evening my brain would turn to the books to catch up. This odd sort of "knowing" went against everything I'd been taught and enculturated to believe, and often it left me at war with myself as my heart and my head tried to learn to coexist.

I'll confess: I meant to keep my distance. I meant to learn the medicine of the plants without dipping into the "woo-woo" and hippy skirts. But learning with my senses, instead of through the power of my intellect, moved me incrementally into my right brain — my intuitive brain.

What you hold in your hands is the fruit of that slow transition from left brain to right. Each plant's description is woven with a warp of modern knowledge and a weft of ancient wisdom. Or perhaps a more apt description is a double helix, the modern and ancient twined together on a cellular level.

Personal experience is a profound teacher. The lessons I learned through my nose and my tongue, my hands and my heart, trump anything I've read in a book. And yet, miraculously and affirmatively, the book learning almost always supports the somatic experience and so science explains what we have known all along.

Listening for the Second Song

"If doctors had to take the medicines they prescribe before giving them to anyone else, I suspect they'd be writing fewer prescriptions."

My teacher made this particular pronouncement while we were sorting elderberries, picking the plump fruit off the toxic fuchsia stems. We were sitting at her dining room table, the same table where we ate our meals, gathered with classes, and sat to consult with clients.

There were many such pronouncements during my year-long apprenticeship in Ireland. This one felt no more or less profound than any of the others, and as my fingers continued to sift berry from stem, I amused myself imagining med students popping colored pills and suffering mythical fates, like growing wings and horns, as the chemicals combined in turbulent and unexpected ways.

I never suspected that this tart statement would become a guiding principle in my pursuit of knowledge, both for healing the body and for salving the spirit. But in many ways it encapsulates the difference between traditional shamanic healing and the modern health care system.

Pause for a second and think about medical students or doctors experiencing the effects of the medications they prescribe (and the effects of mixing meds) before they dose others; it's completely antithetical to how "medicine" is taught today.

And yet this is exactly how medicine was learned for thousands of years. Traditional wisdom and healing are based on the healer knowing the medicine deeply and personally through sight, scent, taste, and the feel of it moving within her body. Even beyond these very tangible interactions, a traditional healer, medicine person, or shaman knows the story of the medicine, the song it sings in the universe, its unique energy signature.


  • “This book doesn’t tell a story in the traditional sense, but it tells a story about the world around you, the beauty of nature, and how you can find that same beauty inside yourself.” – Mugglenet Review

    “In this delightful debut, Toll relies on her imagination to spin a fun botanical mythology. O’Hara’s bright, bold illustrations—which introduce each entry and are also included as a divination deck—will appeal to readers with strong lines and a sense of glowing from their centers, a boldness that carries through to the more representational sketches of plants that follow. It will appeal to those looking for fun new ways of considering plants.” — Publishers Weekly

    “This book is enchanting, wise, engaging, and entertaining! Filled with magic, myth, and tantalizing bits of wisdom, The Illustrated Herbiary may just be one of the most delightful and original herbals written, and definitely one of the most beautifully and lavishly illustrated. Don’t expect to learn a lot of scientific facts about herbs in this whimsical ‘herbiary,’ but be prepared to find your sense of wonder kindled and your imagination sparked as you connect in a most profound and playful relationship with the green world around you.” — Rosemary Gladstar, herbal educator, activist, and best-selling author

    “Opens us to the plant world and ancient teachings from those who live close to the earth.” — Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation

    “Part oracle, part kitchen-conversation with a beloved friend, this book is a treasure that will open your awareness to the plant world like never before.” — Asia Suler, founder One Willow Apothecaries

    “Who knew that plants had such a powerful language and could speak to the core of our soul? The rituals are deliciously simple and the accompanying oracle cards are a delight.” — Brigit Esselmont, author, Everyday Tarot founder of Biddy Tarot

    “Every page blooms with deep-rooted plant wisdom.”— Rosalee de la Forêt, author, Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies that Heal

    “It takes a special ear and heart and mind to translate nature's wisdom, and Maia Toll does it with staggering beauty. The messages of healing and renewal here, for the earth and human, will leave you smiling and spellbound.” — Linda Sivertsen, author, Generation Green, host of the Beautiful Writers Podcast

    “Rife with wit and wisdom about the more ethereal aspects of 36 botanicals, The Illustrated Herbiary invites readers to enter into an ever-deeper relationship with the plant allies we share this Earth with.” — Ashley English, author of the “Homemade Living” Series

    “Beautifully written, vibrantly illustrated and a seamless blend of physical observations and spiritual sagacity. This herbal is not primarily about healing your body; it is about how plants can help you heal your life.” — Robin Rose Bennett, herbalist and author of The Gift of Healing Herbs and Healing Magic- A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living

    “This is an important book full of kindness, old ways made new and practical magic. Maia is a voice for the plants she so lovingly shares with us, and she makes their healing energy and wisdom accessible to all.” — Nicole Cody, award winning blogger and metaphysical mentor

    “Maia's book is beautiful and informative and sassy.  It is a delicious introduction for the new herbalist and a strong addition to any herbal, gardening or esoteric library.  You should own this book.”  — H. Byron Ballard, folklorist, author Earth Works

On Sale
Aug 7, 2018
Page Count
168 pages

Maia Toll

About the Author

Maia Toll is the author of Letting Magic In, The Night School, and the Wild Wisdom series, which includes The Illustrated Herbiary, The Illustrated Bestiary, The Illustrated Crystallary, and Maia Toll's Wild Wisdom Companion. After earning degrees at the University of Michigan and New York University, Toll apprenticed with a traditional healer in Ireland, where she spent extensive time studying the growing cycles of plants, the alchemy of medicine making, and the psycho-spiritual aspects of healing. She is the co owner of the retail store Herbiary, with locations in Asheville, NC and Philadelphia, PA. You can find her online at 

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