Herbalism is a truly beautiful endeavor. The plants speak to us through our senses with a combination of aroma, taste, color, and form—coming together to create a picture of each plant as a whole. When really learning about a plant, we as herbalists benefit from understanding form of the plant at a deep level. It is part of our study.
Herbal coloring books offer us an opportunity to delve into the physicality of herbs. They offer us an opportunity to discover what an herb looks like and perhaps how to identify it in the wild, all with a bit of fun along the way! Coloring for adults has become increasingly popular as a way to ease stress while increasing mindfulness and providing a rest from worldly concerns—an added benefit!
Spending time coloring plant sketches can offer:
- Learning plant morphology and physical patterns of plants to help with identification, either in addition to close study of live plants or when we don’t have access to live plants.
- Engagement with learning about herbs and especially delving into studying one herb at a time.
- Herbal resources and fodder for building a materia medica!
- Another method for ruminating on and engaging with plants.
Fortunately, there are some wonderful botanical coloring books available to support this approach to herbal learning. Below is a collection of coloring books to help any herbalist get to know herbs on a new level!
5 Herbal Coloring Books for Adults
1. Herbs Coloring Book by Stefen Bernath
This book contains lovely, simple drawings of 30 different common herbs including calendula, basil, lavender, saffron, and mint. The cover features all the plants with realistic coloring to help facilitate learning. Each page has one large plant that can be colored and includes the plant’s common and botanical names.
2. Common Weeds: Coloring Book by Stefen Bernath
Also by illustrator and author Stefen Bernath, this herbal coloring book focuses on those most forgotten and sometimes despised plants—“weeds.” In fact, many of these weeds are favorite plants used by herbalists around the globe with plants such as yarrow, nettle, mullein, and St. John’s wort making appearances. In addition to line drawings of 45 different weeds, the book includes succinct and helpful information with each sketch including common and botanical names, botanical description, origin, and a very brief summary of each plant’s uses when applicable.
3. Medicinal Plants Coloring Book by Ilil Arbel
A favorite among many, this coloring book features 44 drawings representing a wide range of plants. From commonly used herbs such as dandelion and chamomile to some of the more dangerous plants like aconite and belladonna—no longer employed by herbalists due to safety concerns. Each page presents one herb to color along with its common and botanical names, botanical description, origin, a summary of its uses, and even information on plant constituents! A brief account of safety information is included as well.
4. The Herbaceous Human by Philippe Grenade XIV & Anne Grenade
This truly unique publication is perhaps my favorite herbal coloring book. The gorgeous illustrations marry the beauty of systems found within the human body with the herbs that are employed to support and nourish those systems. Twelve systems are covered, including the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, and reproductive systems. Each drawing features herbs artfully intertwined and represented within the organs for which the plants are used. Also included with the pictures is information on the properties and benefits each herb offers. The pages are a heavy stock and so even watercolors can be used for lovely blending of colors.
5. Herb Apothecary: The Coloring Book: 54 Chinese Herbs by Diana Moll L.Ac.
For those interested in Chinese herbs, this coloring book is for you! Nestled on lovely paper are 54 drawings of Chinese herbs, in both the live and dried state, each with a touch of artistic flair! Along with each illustration you will find information about the flavor, temperature, channels, and category for the plant, as well as an engaging description of the plant’s indications, actions, and colors is included.
3 Herbal Coloring Books Children Will Love!
1. A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., AHG
A book for kids of all ages, and way more than a simple herbal coloring book, this tome is filled with activities, songs, stories, recipes, and yes, coloring opportunities! With a close study of 16 child-friendly plants, kids and adults alike will find plenty of inspiring learning opportunities within these covers. Each plant has a picture to color and ideas to bringing that plant right into a child’s life in engaging and fun ways!
2. Medicinal Plants of North America: A Floral Delaterre Coloring Book by Beth Judy & D.D. Dowden
Based on The Plant Detective radio show, this coloring book is as fun to learn from as it is to color. Author and radio show host Beth Judy, along with Illustrator D.D. Dowden, bring Flora Delaterre and her adventures from the radio waves to the page, offering kids (and adults alike) a wonderful opportunity to do some plant sleuthing! A special part of this book is information that talks about plant conservation—an important topic at any age. Learn more about Floral Delaterre here.
3. Flower Fairies Coloring Alphabet Coloring Book by Cicely Mary Barker
If your child loves fairies, this book is filled with whimsical drawings and will surely capture their imagination! Each image features a lovely caretaker fairy alongside a plant charge. This book is not solely focused on botanicals relative to herbalism; however, certain plants such as mallow and pansy do find a home with herbalists!
Find more fun for kids in our Introduction to Herbs for Kids series including coloring and activity sheets!
Once you get your hands on an herbal coloring book, it is time to let the fun and learning begin. So, take some time to settle in, brew up a cup of tea and get coloring!