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📚 Lesson
[G2] Abyssinian Shrivelfig | Practicum

Started by Talia Bryce, July 05, 2021, 03:09:30 am

Talia Bryce

July 05, 2021, 03:09:30 am Last Edit: July 06, 2021, 01:33:00 am by Mooni
January 1970 | Lesson 1 : Abyssinian Shrivelfig

    Professor Bryce had arranged for the students to start off the new semester in greenhouse two. Like the others the space was set up with a small atrium at the entrance, hooks for hanging one's cloak and bag, a cabinet with various tools for each class, some stacked pots and miscellaneous tools and satchels were stored. A curved archway led into the main area, two long rows of wooden tables with padded stools, a bit of shelving under the tables for buckets and supplies. The first few months she had spent plenty of time with definitions of herbology, uses of plants both magical and non, all the basic care and information she felt they would need leading into the spring term. Books were all well and good, a few assignments and papers required before they could really dive deeper into the topic but there was nothing like practical learning by getting one's hands dirty.

Ushering the students in, she instructed them to hang their things up before taking an apron and proceeding into the large main stretch of space making up the body of the greenhouse. Despite the dreary weather outside, she was sure everyone would be comfortable from all the enchantments and charms placed on the building to keep the plants inside happy and temperature regulated. One Gryffindor boy seemed quite keen on trying to chat but was holding up others in the doorway to do so. "Yes, yes good afternoon Mister McLaggen, please do take a seat." Greeting everyone as they arrived, she gave nods and smiles making sure to catch anyone a little too eager to start, fingers already prodding some of the plants.

"No wands today I'm afraid," A few groans that quickly dissipated as the professor finished her thought. "no textbooks either." That seemed to warrant a pleasing sound throughout the room.

Rolling up the sleeves to her blouse and striding across the room in between the rows of students, Talia gave a wave of her hand shifting the enchanted glass casing of the building to a sunnier disposition allowing for the students to have more light to work by. "Alright, settle in and welcome back everyone! I trust you all had a fantastic holiday."

In the middle of the tables were pots housing a bushy plant in each, covered in lush green leaves made up of three lobe like shapes. Each plant had three to four purple bulbous looking fruit hanging from a thick stem. "We briefly talked about these before break but can anyone remember the proper name of these ones in particular?"


"I want to remind you all that while the purple fleshy bits appear to be a fruit, they are in fact a more akin to a flower. What we're seeking is the inside blossoms and fleshy parts from today's venture. Just like the other plants we've covered this year, much of these can be used for medicinal purposes and in potioneering. These are a key component to both the Shrinking Solution and-" A rather eager student finished off her thought with an 'Elixir to Induce Euphoria.'

"I'd like everyone to work with the person across from you today. You'll find the necessary tools at each seat. Be careful to pick the deep purple ones only and give a gentle squeeze to be sure they're ripe, not too hard and be sure to check for any bruising or holes as a few creepy crawlies tend to enjoy the way these taste. As you recall, no need to worry about toxic or harmful juices, spores, what have you. These plants are harmless in that sense but that does not mean you should be taste testing." Her eyes lingered on a group of Gryffindor boys who continued to test her patience each class daring one another to sample anything appealing in the greenhouses.

Walking around the students, she motioned to the tools that sat next to them. A pair of shears, gloves with rubber grips on the fingers, a cloth, two rectangular glass containers, a metal scoop, a small paring knife and what appeared to be a heavy duty version of a kitchen peeler with a wooden handle.  "I want each of you to harvest at least one of the shrivelfigs depending on what's available on the bush in front of you and set it aside, peels in one container and figs in the other please. Try not to get the purple liquid on you as you work, it might smell sweet but it leaves a rather horrid stain that takes some good scrubbing to get out. If you notice too much liquid coming from your peeling or on your gloves then you're pressing too hard and try to relax your grip." Leaning over to give a pointed look at one student who was already playing around with the knife, she cleared her throat and rounded back to the front of the class.

"I'll be walking around to help where I'm needed and once you've all finished peeling we'll move onto the next task!"

Kian Thorne

PLANTS. Kian let out a groan as he entered the greenhouse, shoulders bumping against a few other students as he made an attempt to squeeze through the doorway. Shooting a look down at one of the younger students sending them scurrying, the fifth year pulled his cloak off and set it on one of the empty hooks. Professor Bryce was already far too chipper starting off the lesson for the day. Why did this woman always seem to be excitable about every little thing. What could possibly be pleasant about shoving your hands into dirt and... worse.. Shrugging off his blazer, Kian gave a shiver at the thought of having to put his hands on dung so soon.

Loosening his tie, he rolled up his sleeves and buttoned them so they wouldn't get messy before pulling on an apron as instructed. Why did these have to be so tacky? Glaring down at the offensive bit of thick leather, he tied the straps behind his waist and cinched it in a tight knot. No wands, another shock. Utterly shocked.. This class couldn't be anymore boring even if Bryce made them sit and watch a plant grow. How obnoxious, weren't there at least some standards for education here?

Slipping past a few students, he found a seat and eyed the tools that were set out in front of them. Shrivelfigs, great. Though it seemed as if only one plant was set between each pair of students across from one another. Please not-

'I'd like everyone to work with the person across from you today.'

-Paired projects. What is it with this woman and trying to get them to have to work with others? He was just fine working by himself and in fact preferred it that way. Without someone to worry about messing up anything or having to patiently wait while the other person did something he could accomplish in less than half the time. Sure, whatever.. peel, collect. How hard could that be? Even a mountain troll could follow those instructions. Lifting his gaze he leaned to one side and peered across the plant at his supposed partner.

"Looks like it's me and you today."

Ari Taylor-Williams

July 07, 2021, 03:11:47 am #2 Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 03:30:04 am by Ari Taylor-Williams
Ari enjoyed working with plants, but she also liked having Professor Bryce as a teacher. She was really nice and gave of mind vibes that Ari liked. When she was heading to Herbology, she was skipping all the way there. Her brown bag over her shoulders, with flowers stitched on. She had her usual school uniform on, and a yellow ribbon tied in her hair at the back.

She walked into herbology with a bright smile. She waved to the professor. "Hello!" She said, brightly. She sat at a table across from a rather tall, dark haired boy. She listened to every word. She looked at all the tools on the table and watched as boys were already messing around. She shook her head. They needed to take this seriously, they could easily get hurt! Air wondered why some people were like that. Her moms always said not to be like those kids.

She didn't need to be told twice. She liked her eyes right where they were. She wanted to do everything properly, maybe to even impress professor Bryce.

She grabbed some gloves. "Okay." She said. "You know what we're doing?" She asked, nicely. She wanted to make sure he understood.

Ophiuchus Yaxley

One of the students groaning, was Ophelia herself. She hated the lessons in Herbology when the Professor Talia insisted they wouldn't use magic and use their hands like uncivilized wizards and witches.

Though, she didn't want to admit it, she had remembered the lesson from the prior semester and an image of the Abyssinian Shrivelfig popped into her brain. However, because she didn't want to show anyone she remembered anything she stared at the Professor Talia with a vapid look on her face. Still feeling embarrassed about the detention before Christmas, she made an effort to actually remember the words spewing out of the herbology professor.

Be careful to pick the deep purple ones only and give a gentle squeeze to be sure they're ripe... She mentally kept a tally of what she'd need to do. She tucked and buttoned her sleeves so they wouldn't get in the way and pulled up the protective gloves. While the Professor kept talking, Ophi picked up the knife and fiddled with it absently. She noticed Kian had made it to the class, and a quirky first year was sitting across from him. Ah well, not a big deal.

"A paired activity?" The frown grew on her face and she grimaced at the thought of having to work with someone else.

Maeve Foley

Herbology seemed to be one of the few classes that was more Muggle-ish? Maeve was still trying to decide what actually constituted Muggle versus magical. Some things she assumed would be deemed so by others were perfectly normal. So even plants had differences? Ugh, too many things to try and keep up with. She eyed the tools and fidgeted with a few of them, knees wobbling together anxiously as she sat on her stool.

A shrivah-whatnow? Fig? Sorta looked like pictures of figs, Maeve supposed anyway. It wasn't exactly like she had seen one before, at least that she could recall. Half listening to the instructions and half absorbed in the plants around the rest of the greenhouse, the Gryffindor felt herself fading off into la-la land. Her stomach was still rumble-y and that was much too distracting. Alright, so... squish the fig to test it? Peel off the skin bits and not get messy? This whole class was constantly messy. There had to be some fun to it and being able to tease Artemis or some of the others with mud covered fingers threatening their face at least provided some entertainment.

Prodding at the base of the bush, Maeve inclined her chin and poked her tongue into the side of her cheek, mouth open slightly for better inspecting concentration. Had she left that droobles back in her room? Hazel eyes floated upwards in thought. Maybe Arty had some with him, she could probably get him to share a bit and trade some dessert later at dinner. What were they even having for dinner tonight.. oh! Roast maybe? Yes, ah... A nice roast and those creamy potatoes from a couple nights ago. Oh! Had the teacher stopped talking?

Maeve shifted in her seat, gaze snapping back to the bush in front of her and eyes starring across the table. Wide eyed, she gave a nervous smile. Oh please let them have been paying attention.

Bobby Cashmore

Upon hearing the news that wands wouldn't be needed today, Bobby wasn't sure whether to be thrilled or not. At least that would make it a practical lesson and that would mean something about it would go in.

Gloves on, ready for a paired activity... he'd gotten there a little late so he hadn't focused on who was sat opposite him when he'd sat down, as he'd expected today would be a solitary activity lesson but... oh no. Oh no...

He found himself staring straight at Ophi. Judging by her lack of reaction, she probably hadn't clocked that her partner was going to be him - and he definitely remembered the last time they'd been in a greenhouse together, when they'd volunteered over Christmas. He only hoped this time wouldn't end up in them both getting detention.

He realised he was also sat near a young Gryffindor he'd seen in one or two other classes - she looked nervous and confused, not sure what was going on, and he wondered if he could plausibly get away with arguing that the other student was a better match, him being older and willing to help etc. etc. but he realised that it would have to be Ophi after all.

"Hi again. Guess we're partners."

He rummaged around in the plant in front of them, but a first rootle around didn't yield anything that seemed particularly rich and purple.

"Can you find something in this bush that's purple? Cos I can't, and I don't know if I'm just missing something obvious."

Ophiuchus Yaxley

Ophelia hadn't been paying attention when Bobby plopped in front of her. She turned her head towards him when she caught his voice. "Oh. Hi, Robert." Ophi answered absentmindedly. She didn't bother to looking at his face, keeping her eyes on the plants in front of them. How did she remember his name, again?

She went back in her brain file and remembered they'd met just before Christmas. She also remembered he'd thrown snowballs at her during the snowball fight! That's why she knew who Bobby was.

Ophi watched Bobby rummage around the root in front of them. "I'm not sure that one is ready to pick. Seems like it's not rich in purple." She pointed at another root with her wand. "Try that one." Ophi wondered if she could get Bobby to do most of the dirty work, she wasn't in the mood to rummage in the dirt, and they weren't allowed to use magic on this date. Sliding her wand back into her pocket, she looked up at Bobby for a moment. "Thankfully, I came on time so I heard the Professor explain the lesson." She lowered her voice when addressing Bobby across the table.

Ophelia looked around the class to see what everyone else was doing. She noticed the muggle child who seemed bewildered and confused, and hoped beyond hope that Art was not in the time table for this class.

Kian Thorne

Groaning Kian wondered where Seb had gotten to... or Ophi for that matter-oh there she was. Fantastic.. he was going to be landed with this baby badger. He gave the girl a questioning look. "Do you really think I wouldn't?" Even if he hated Herbology he wasn't that much of an idiot to not know how to follow directions. Even if Bryce prattled on more than she should. He heard a voice in the back of his head to be nice. Ugh, Seb's little flicker of good conscious he had implanted in Kian's brain kicked in at the worst of times.

Careful to brush aside some of the larger leaves and look for a purple fruit, Kian let out a long sigh. "Do you see anything on your side?" His hands lingered on one fruit but turning it to one side he noticed a bit of green and with a gentle squeeze, realized it was still pretty hard. His eyes trailed over some of his peers. How was everyone else doing so far? Ophi seemed annoyed by her partner but that was nothing new, poor Cashmore.

"Here's one." Using the shears to snip at the stem of the plant, Kian removed a fairly squishy fig and held it across the table to the girl. "Ladies first." He wasn't sure he trusted the girl to know enough to even find a fig to begin with and though it might have seemed a kindness, his offer was more out of the selfish need to simply be done with the task and micromanage as much as he could. "Remember to be careful with that and don't cut too deep." He wasn't sure there was going to be enough fruit if she botched that one and they both needed a few to move onto the next task.

Watching her for a minute to be sure she was starting off the task of peeling properly, he moved back to the plant in search of another fruit.

Maeve Foley

Maeve nervously looked across the table but her partner seemed keen on muttering to themselves and ignoring her altogether. She shifted in her stool and tried to prod at a leaf with her finger. It wasn't going to bite was it? Picking up her gloves and slipping them on, she peered around the room. Everyone else seemed to be getting along already and with the Professor making her way towards Maeve's side of the table, she was worried she might get in trouble or appear to not be working.

"H-hey! D-do ye mind if I work with ye..." The young lion stuttered turning to the dark haired Ravenclaw boy next to her and the red-head who looked to be scowling. Hopefully she wasn't intruding. "I didn't really hear all the 'structions." Trying not to sound too desperate, she craned her neck and leaned back in her stool to carefully watch Professor Bryce rounding the other end of the tables. "Please? I'll peel er do anythin'!" She glanced from the older boy to the girl.

Bobby Cashmore

Trying his best not to react too outwardly to Ophi's comments, he turned to the younger student who seemed to be having trouble.

He wasn't sure how much she'd really picked up already - and she seemed concerned that she hadn't heard all the details so he figured he'd quickly start a couple of steps back up. "So, these plants are shrivelfigs, good for making several different potions. Shrinking solutions mostly, I think. Anyway, we need to find the ones that are purple, squeeze them gently to see if they're ripe, and peel them. Like any fruit, we need to check also that there's no wriggly things in them."

He frowned, rooting around in his pot again. "I'd show you one but I can't seem to find one." Looking up and across at Ophi, he asked, "How about you, Ophi? Found any in your pot?"

She'd been right though, there wasn't much of anything purple in this one, though he furrowed in and found a small one lurking under all the leaves... there were a lot of leaves to his plant. It wasn't the one Ophi had pointed at, though.

Giving it a slight squeeze, it felt pretty solid with only the tiniest give, but it didn't seem purple enough.

Putting his hand up, he looked over to the professor. "Professor Bryce?" He just wanted her to take a look at it because he didn't feel confident enough about whether this was ready or not... it just seemed the slightest bit unripe.

He had noticed that Ophi hadn't put any gloves on at this point - and the mildly snide comment about having heard the instructions wasn't worth the response.

Ari Taylor-Williams

Ari raised an eyebrow as Kian snapped back, but couldn't be mad at him. It wasn't in her blood to be angry. Sure even though Kian seemed to be annoyed with her, she felt bad for him. Who likes being angry? She blinked at him."I'm sorry." She said, looking at the plants.

Kian began to search and so did she. She pushed aside leaves gently looking for the purple. She shook her head. "mm... no" She looked over as he seemed to have found something. She looked around as other students chatted.

She turned to Kian and he pulled out the object. "oooh, good job!" She said, beaming at him. She was surprised when he let her go first, oblivious to his tone. "Oh, thank you!" She said, pulling it towards her. She took the tool and stopped as he spoke. "I know! Don't worry! "

She began to him as she peeled the fig. When she was finished she showed it to him. "All done!" She said. Her peeling was amazing, as was her talent with plants.

Talia Bryce

"Best not to peel that one." Talia gave a small warning to one of the first year badgers struggling with a rather mushy and dark purple almost black fruit. Continuing around the room, she gave nods of approval here and there to some of the students, satisfied with a majority of everyone working well together... though some more begrudgingly than others. At least they were making an attempt at civility.  

Hearing her name, Talia looked up to see a third year Ravenclaw with his hand up. "Yes, Mr. Cashmore?" Happy to assist, she stepped next to the boy and noticed another younger first year involved in the group. Making note of her partner, she gave the girl a small smile before returning her attention to the boy.

"That appears to be good!" She prodded it with her pointer finger to be sure and gave a steady nod. "Sometimes the smaller ones can be bitter and tougher skinned but that'll do." She would wait to see if the small group needed anymore help, giving a response before heading back around the tables.

Once the students seemed to get a handle on having a number of peeled, or at least one peeled fruit, Talia continued to the second half of the lesson.

"You'll all see one of these at your stations," Holding up an antique juicer, cylindrical base that appeared to be a strainer of sorts and two handles, she showed it to both tables. "You'll be putting your peeled pieces of shrivelfig into this juicer and pulling down the top lever. Each of you have a few glass bottles with a stopper and funnel. Please be sure to get all the juice into the containers and yes they might feel cool to touch. They've been charmed to keep the juice fresh for Professor Cadwick's class this week."

"Shrivelfig juice, or often called blood in some texts, should flow steadily from the fruit as you squeeze it. No lumps and be sure it is a bright ruby color in the bottle when held up to the light. If you notice any strange discoloration, especially black please raise your hand and call me over. This can be due to a number of things including a rare fungus that will attach itself to the plant and use it as a host. As you all know potions relies heavily on its ingredients and not just the brewing process. This fungus alters the state of the shrivelfig and can actually turn a Shrinking solution into a volatile poison that will close off one's esophagus in seconds, suffocating them before the drinker realizes what is happening. Professor Cadwick would not be thrilled so please be sure to pay close attention as you work."

"This parasitic fungus will also strangle off the food supply to the plant eventually and can spread from one to the other quite quickly. We shouldn't have any trouble as you've all tended to these last month and kept a close eye on their growth. The official term is called Aspergillus but is commonly called smut." A few older students snickered in the corner and Talia gave them a stern look to quiet them. "Infected areas both inside and out will turn black and be covered in powdery black spores. These spores transfer from flies and beetles to each plant as well as passed within the root system. Judging by the state of the greenhouse and shape you've all kept it in this year I would say we shouldn't be worried, still it is better to be safe than sorry!"

Giving a demonstration of the juicing, fig in the basket end of the hand tool and pulling the two handled together over the funnel in front of her, she let the liquid pour from the juicer and into the glass bottle. Holding it up to the light, she turned it in the light.

"A little darker than we want but not due to fungus, you can still see a light shimmer of ruby but the deeper purple range could be due to an overly ripe fruit. If you're unsure giving it a whiff should help, it should be sweet and not like the inside of Professor Abbot's sock drawer." She teased and gave a playful wince at the thought.

Letting the students get to the next task she urged them to start and took another lap around the room.