Phyllophobia: The Fear of Leaves

Phyllophobia: The Fear of Leaves

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Phyllophobia: The Fear of Leaves

Phyllophobia is an excessive fear of leaves. There have been a lot of cases in which an individual has develop a phobia from leaves (branch of botanophobia) where they become fearful of experiencing anxiety itself because it would make them feel very uncomfortable.

Also quite related to agrostophobia, phyllophobia 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 leaves) 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.

A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a situation exposed to leaves (branch of botanophobia) to experience Phyllophobia. The brain doesn’t have to be in that situation to experience the symptoms of panic. A person’s brain is capable of creating a reaction to fearsome situations even when the subject is not actually in that situation.

People are different and so are all the types of phobias someone might suffer from. So the symptoms also vary strongly on the severity in which an individual is experiencing these fears. But generally speaking, plant phobias and fears such as Phyllophobia fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Meaning that a person can experience any if not all of the below mentioned physical and/or psychological symptoms.


There are no known causes of botanophobia (phyllophobia). However, genetics and one’s environment may play very significant roles. For example, if someone were to have a family history of mental illness, then they may have a higher chance of developing an irrational fear of plants. This may be due to them then having a higher chance of having a genetic predisposition to developing mental illness in general.

If they were to have such a genetic predisposition, then it may only take them experiencing some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown botanophobia. Essentially, any sort of emotionally painful experience that had something to do with plants may be enough for someone to develop this condition insofar as they have the proper genetics that is.

Phyllophobia Physical Symptoms

People with fear of leaves (branch of botanophobia) often experience panic attacks. These panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing for the person suffering from those. These symptoms most of the time happen suddenly and without any prior signs or warnings. No matter how overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause real physical symptoms

Phyllophobia Psychological Symptoms

In some very severe cases, a person suffering a panic attack triggered from Phyllophobia. Usually when exposed to its triggers such as leaves (branch of botanophobia). Can have one/or all of the following symptoms.

  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of fainting
  • Feelings of dread
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of harm or illness
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear


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 tumble weeds. 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.


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.

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