In February 2000, the authors conducted a national study of the public's perception of plants. The investigation involved 502 participants from 26 states. It was designed in conjunction with BSA's "Botany for the Next Millennium" document and the authors' own Theory of Plant Blindness (ABT,1999). This survey probed participants' perception level for plants in their environment, their past plant-related activities, the relative importance they ascribe to plants in their life, their plant identification skills, the influence of others on their perceptions and understandings of plants, their knowledge of plant experts, their ranked importance of various uses of plants, and their perceived knowledge of plant organs. The study focused on "Generation Y" youth--which includes the age of students now in high school and undergraduate college classrooms (n=302), and on women with children (n=200), who are currently involved in raising our nation's youth. Chi-square analysis and cross-tabulation, as well as analysis of agreement using Cohen's kappa, Pearson's r correlation coefficient, and Krippendorf's content analysis, were used to interpret the survey item responses. Model response patterns for today's teenagers and for today's active mothers were constructed--with similarities and differences between groups highlighted. Finally, implications for botanical education were drawn, centering upon the study's finding that prior informal educational experiences with plants appear to be a key instructional variable, and on the finding that the mother's plant-related experiences signal the plant-related experiences that she will provide for her children.

Key words: botanical education, plant blindness, public understanding of science, visual cognition