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Agrostophobia: The Fear of Grasses

by Richard .

Agrostophobia (from Greek agrostis, “type of grass”), more commonly known as is the fear of grass. It is a branch of botanophobia, fear of plants since grasses are plants. It is almost exclusively suffered by young children but also suffered by older children. Common causes of agrostophobia include stepping in the rabbit hole, getting tickled or stabbed by blades of grass, getting bitten by bugs in the grass when walking bare-footed over it or, and even getting annoyed by the green color. Sufferers would avoid walking on grasses, even when having shoes on.

Other common phobias related to grasses have to do with insects, actual dirt or disease, or even of water, sun or weather conditions.

Although avoiding plants/grasses may help them to reduce any sort of acute anxiety that they would have otherwise experienced, doing so may be harmful in the long run due to the fact that by avoiding plants they will also be reinforcing their fear of them as well. Be that as it may, avoidance is a very common behavior with people suffering from most phobias, including botanophobia.

What is Agrostophobia

Agrostophobia is a branch of botanophobia which is considered a specific form of phobia. Specific phobias are typically fears of certain objects or situations. Specific phobias usually contain specific panic triggers, such as spiders, snakes, elevators, or flying. These fears develop during childhood and tend to go away, for example, the fear of the dark. If the fear continues through to adulthood, treatment would be the only solution. These fears can keep people from having a normal life, depending on how often they must encounter/avoid the fear.

Botanophobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of plants (in this case grasses) often caused by a negative past experience. Sufferers from botanophobia experience undue anxiety about encountering or being surrounded by plants. This phobia can become quite irrational if left untreated.

How Can You Be Afraid of Plants? Whether they admit it or not, everyone fears something. For many people, it’s an actual fear of plants and flowers. Considering the world is covered in plants, this phobia can be extremely serious and curtail a person’s lifestyle. Two of the most common plant phobias are botanophobia, the often irrational fear of plants, and agrostophobia, the fear of grasses. But both botanophobia and agrostophobia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to garden phobias. Some garden phobias are more specific than a general fear of plants. A fear of trees is called dendrophobia, while a fear of vegetables (beyond a four-year-old’s distaste) is called lachanophobia. Mycophobia is a fear of mushrooms, which might not actually be an irrational fear given that many mushrooms are poisonous.
Most phobias are simply learned patterns of behavior that become anchored in the unconscious mind.

Someone with this phobia may have anxiety that is so extreme that they may make major life decisions based on their fear alone, such as choosing to live in an area where plant life especially grasses are sparsely distributed. This may mean that they would then choose to live on a beachfront somewhere or in the middle of a large city. Their botanophobia may also greatly interfere with their relationships too. For example, someone with this condition may reject many offers from friends and family to visit them or to go to certain places with them due to their fear of them potentially seeing grasses.


Plant, grasses, herb or flower phobias may stem from a variety of issues. They may be linked to a traumatic life event often at an early age. They may trigger feelings of loss related to the death of a loved one. Or they may be related to an injury experienced via plant life, such as getting poked by stinging nettles or roses, or getting poison ivy. Garden phobias may even be aroused by allergies, such as to onions or garlic. Sometimes botanophobia is caused by superstitious beliefs related to plants. Many cultures have folk tales regarding the presence of witches, demons or other evil entities in plants and trees, which frankly sounds a little terrifying even to me. A more modern basis for plant phobias is that indoor plants suck oxygen from a room at night, completely ignoring the fact that plants actually emit ten times the oxygen during the day over what they use at night. Garden phobias are often more complex in nature and caused by several factors. Heredity and genetics may come into play along with brain chemistry and life experience. Treatment for plant-related phobias often takes a multi-pronged approach combining various therapeutic approaches with medication.

Treatments for Agrostophobia

As with cases of botanophobia (agrostophobia), exposure therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from anxiety disorders and may also be very effective at treating botanophobia as well. Exposure therapy works by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to their fear over a given period of time. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to something they fear, the less it will bother them over time. This is essentially how exposure therapy works.

The therapist may start off slowly (depending on how severe their botanophobia is) by showing them pictures or videos of plants and grasses. Although this doesn’t sound like much exposure, for someone suffering from botanophobia this may be very anxiety provoking.

The therapist may then move on to expose the patient to an actual plant in real life insofar as the patient can handle the anxiety that will come with it. With this being said, it is very important that the therapist implementing exposure therapy is very adept and experienced seeing as how if the patient is exposed to too much too soon, then their botanophobia may actually worsen.


If you think you may have agrostophobia or if you are suffering from some of the symptoms described in this article, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated. Upon doing so, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, therapist or a psychologist for further treatment.

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