The Ship’s Herbarium from “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”

A herbarium is a collection of dried preserved specimens that documents the identity of plants and fungi.  A herbarium is, essentially, a plant library–a reference collection with many and varied functions–including identification, research, and education.  (Readers may be familiar with this same -arium Latin root meaning “a place where things are kept” when it is combined with other prefixes to form other words in English–notably, for example, in aquarium, planetarium, and terrarium.)
 
A typical herbarium is the District of Columbia Herbarium–part of the Department of Botany in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution (SI).  The D.C. Herbarium holds over 57,000 specimens from the Washington-Baltimore Area, including the much-studied Plummer’s Island, Maryland, located in the Potomac River.  At just 57,000 archived specimens, the D.C. Herbarium is actually rather small compared to others around he world.  (Compare it, for example, to the herbarium at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France–which has about 9.5 million specimens.)
 
An important point of herbariums (well, herbaria is actually the correct plural) is that they aren’t really gardens or arboretums or hydroponic tanks full of growing things.  Herbaria generally contain plant specimens and samples that have been preserved for long-term study.  The specimens are generally pressed and mounted plants, seeds, wood sections, pollen, microscope slides, frozen DNA extractions, and fluid-preserved flowers and fruits.  They are pressed, dried, mounted flat on large sheets of heavy, acid-free paper, and labeled with essential collecting data–a procedure that herbaria facilities have been following for hundreds of years–since the first herbarium was established in Italy in the late 1500s.  These “documents” look like these typical examples:
 
Herbarium Sample
 
Harbarium Sample
 
Because of their largely scientific nature, herbaria are usually associated with universities, museums, or botanical  gardens.  Here are some typical herbarium users:
 
Herbarium Users 
 
 Herbarium Users
 
So where am I going with this?
 
An earlier article in this series discussed the “INT. RECREATION ROOM” set that was built for (and ultimately edited out of) episode 57 “Elaan of Troyius.”  (My thanks to Dr. David Tilotta at StarTrekHistory.com for making his exceptional collection of Star Trek film clips and trims available to others, and for allowing me to reproduce this “Elaan of Troyius” lost clip.) 
 
Recreation Room Set from "Elaan of Troyius" 
 
That same “INT RECREATION ROOM” set did finally get used (re-used?) in episode 60 “And the Children Shall Lead:”
 
Recreation Room from "And the Children hall Lead"
 
Even though that’s the last time we saw this large, INT. RECREATION ROOM” set used in Star Trek: The Original Series, folks have been asking about or commenting upon the use of elements of the set in the episode “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” (episode 62).  “Didn’t we also see that INT. RECREATION ROOM set in “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”  Wasn’t it actually called the “arboretum?”
 
Well, not really.
 
In “Is There In Truth No Beauty?,” an important plot point is that Captain Kirk needs to get Dr. Miranda Jones off in some quiet secluded area where Kirk can make a pass at Dr. Jones–or at least make it look like he’s making a pass at Dr. Jones–enough so that Kirk has her undivided attention.  As Mister Spock says:
 
“Her telepathic powers are formidable.  If it is at all  possible, her mind must be so engaged that no thought of what I am doing shall  intrude.”
 
In truth, Kirk himself also needs to have his mind similarly engaged so that no thought of what Mister Spock is planning intrudes on his thoughts either–since Dr. Jones would be able to easily perceive the deception in Kirk’s mind.  So his mind, too, needed to be so engaged that no thought of what Spock was doing should intrude.  Kirk needed a secluded and romantic location where they wouldn’t be interrupted by other crew members during their off-duy recreation time, so a publically-accessible Recreation Room was probably dismissed as a place for the Captain to undertake this romantic distraction.  Ultimately, the writer chose to stage this scene in the INT. HERBARIUM location.    
 
The First Draft script  for the episode “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” by Jean Lisette Aroeste (dated July 5, 1968) had a bit of information about this INT. HERBARIUM room.  In fact, this Herbarium scene actually had a bit of a foreshadowing earlier in the episode.
 
Here’s some of the content from Scene 22–when Captain Kirk, Mister Spock, Dr. McCoy, Dr. Miranda Jones, and Mr. Larry Marvick are enjoying some after-dinner brandy in the “Dining Room.”  (In this First Draft of the script, Marvick was simply Mister Marvick, not Dr. Marvick–and Mister Scott was not in attendance for this dinner scene.)
 
KIRK
What else can we give you, Dr. Jones?
More brandy?  Or a peach?
 
MIRANDA
Nothing more, thank you.  Everything
is excellent – even real flowers.
Where did you get them?
 
KIRK
There’s a botanical section aboard
that we raid for very special
occasions.  I’ll show it to you if
you like.
 
MARVICK
You’re out of luck, Captain.
Miranda doesn’t care much for
little excursions.  Not if they
take her away from Ariel.
 
McCoy reacts with interest.  It’s obvious that Miranda
intrigues him.  Miranda raises an eyebrow at Marvick,
then smiles at Kirk.
 
MIRANDA
I’d enjoy that, Captain.
 
(In this First Draft, Ambassador Kollos the Medeusan was still named Ambassador Ariel the Medeusan.  In fact, a bit earlier in that same scene is a relevant exchange.)
 
KIRK
Ariel and Miranda – is that a
coincidence?
 
MIRANDA
Ariel chose the name to go with
mine.
 
MARVICK
What a touching gesture.
 
MIRANDA
(ignoring him)
Medeusans don’t have names as we
understand them.  They aren’t
really named Medeusans either,
for that matter.  That’s just what
humans call them.
 
At any rate–back to the subject of the Herbarium….
 
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy hatch the plan to keep the telepathic Dr. Jones occupied while Spock approaches Ambassador Ariel about conducting a mind-link to navigate the ship back to safety:
 
KIRK
Are you suggesting that I ought
to have her confined to quarters?
 
SPOCK
Her telepathic powers are formidable.
If Dr. Jones wished to interfere
she could do so, even if you –
clapped her in irons, I believe the
expression is.
 
McCOY
We’ve got to keep her busy doing
something else, something absorbing
enough so that she won’t have her
mind focused on Ariel.
 
KIRK
I think that can be arranged.
 
McCOY
Don’t take this too lightly.  She’s
smart, and very sensitive.  If you
try to be devious with her, she’ll
catch on.
 
KIRK
There are some little distractions
I’ve mentioned to her before.  The
Herbarium for example.  She said
she’d go.  We’ll go tomorrow.
What’s devious about that?
 
As we get into the actual Herbarium scenes where Captain Kirk and Dr. Jones have their encounter, we’ll see that, yes, there are roses, and, yes, it’s a little slice of Earth (no crazy other-worldly plants here!), but, yes, it’s also intended to be a private and secure scientific facility–different from a Recreation Room that everyone can enjoy.  In fact, these Herbarium scenes were actually, immediately preceded (in the First Draft script, at any rate) with a brief insert shot:
 
INSERT – STENCILLED SIGN ON DOOR: “HERBARIUM – AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY”
 
A bit into the Herbarium scenes is this exchange (which also didn’t survive to the Final Draft of the script):
 
MIRANDA
This place is enormous, Kirk, and
very beautiful.  Why do we seem to
be the only people here?
 
KIRK
It’s off limits as a rule — to
protect the plants.  Some of them
are very fragile.
 
MIRANDA
How is it that we are allowed here,
then?
 
KIRK
I’m the captain.
 
Another later exchange–after Dr. Jones figures out what Spock is up to and Kirk grabs Dr. Jones to keep her from escaping–has the following interesting content:
 
LONG SHOT
 
Miranda runs down the aisle.  Kirk follows her, calling:
 
KIRK
Miranda!  Come back!
 
She ignores him and makes for the door….. The wrong
door!  It bears a warning sign:
 
INSERT – STENCILLED SIGN ON DOOR
 
“Venomous and Carnivorous – Positively No Admittance
-Danger!” 
 
FULL SHOT
as Miranda reaches the door and Kirk, coming at a
sprint, plucks her away from it.
 
CLOSE – KIRK, MIRANDA
 
MIRANDA
Let me go!
 
KIRK
(shaking her)
Don’t you know you almost got
yourself killed?
 
She looks at the sign.
 
MIRANDA
I didn’t even notice.
 
KIRK
You’ve certainly demonstrated
that violent emotion is a kind of
insanity.
(he helps her to
her feet)
What came over you?
 
MIRANDA
Kirk, you don’t realize, you cant
possibly realize what a dangerous
thing Spock is planning.  Please,
take me back now.  Right away!
 
DIRECT CUT TO:
 
INT. PASSENGER CABIN E – CLOSE ON SPOCK – DAY 
 
So it’s pretty clear that this room (or assemblage of rooms) was originally conceived to be secure and rather scientific in nature.  Not only was this room envisioned as one to which no one was normally granted access (and which the Captain enters only with his Captain-ly prerogative), but, well, who puts something “Venomous and Carnivorous” in a room that attaches to a Recreation Room?
 
Just as we saw with the Recreation Room from “Elaan of Troyius,” Art Designer Matt Jefferies got to work designing a new “Herbarium” set.  As his drawings indicate (which were sold at auction some years ago), his brainstorming seemed to envision the Herbarium set as being far more, well, herbarium-like rather than just a simple garden.  There are displays and/or windows–presumably with plant displays.  These multiple windows or exhibits might be reflective of different biomes on Earth–sort of like the different regional biome domes on board the Valley Forge that we would see in the motion picture Silent Running.  This room (or series of rooms) has equipment and controls and machinery and readouts and, yes, some free-standing planters.  But, all in all, it almost looks to be more like a museum, with exhibits and with dioramas, than a pretty Recration Room or Earth-like park for leisurely meandering.  It should be remembered that the official name “herbarium” is not something Matt Jefferies made up all on his own; this was the name for the set as written by scriptwriter Jean Lisette Aroeste.  Matt Jefferies’ nomenclature on his drawings simply reflects the scripted name for this set.  The picture below (from the episode with Production Number 60043-062–“Elaan of Troyius”) shows how he intended to dovetail this new set addition onto the preexisting INT. RECREATION ROOM set–not only to take advantage of the “plant-y” nature of that set, but because it was probably still standing from the filming of “And the Children Shall Lead” from two weeks earlier.  (Way down at the end is the entrance to the INT. RECREATION ROOM redressed portion of the set–just past the double doors with some kind of signage next to them.)
 
Matt Jefferies' Herbarium Drawing
 
A second Mart Jefferies brainstorming drawing for the planned Herbarium set has similar content.  This basically is the reverse angle from the first drawing.  It maintains that herabarium- and museum-like exhibit/display quality, but it also has elements of a more botanical garden-like setting, with freestanding planters among which to meander.
 
Matt Jefferies' Herbarium Drawing
 
Yet a third drawing focuses on a couple of different freeestanding planters for the middle of the set.  These sketches seem to be mapping out a variety of different bases for the “open mid-set planter.”  Both drawings seem to depict a tall structure of some kind–a fountain? some kind of watering device? a sundial?  Actually, whatever this was meant to be probably wasn’t strictly decorative or aestehically pleasing: this was meant to be a scientific herbarium more than anything else.  Ultimately, this open mid-set planter seems to be the only element that was ultimately constructed and incorporated into this INT. HERBARIUM set for “Is There In Truth No Beauty.”  The bulk of the set was simply the repurposed aforementioned INT. RECREATION ROOM  set from “Elaan of Troyius” (and “And the Children Shall Lead”).  But here’s that open mid-set planter drawing:

 Matt Jefferies' Herbarium Drawing
 
There seems to be some kind of control interface built into the Jefferies-designed planter.  (Maintenance?  Measurement?  Monitoring?)  Also in the upper left is what would appear to be a preliminary drawing for some kind of tubular structure–maybe for irrigation or possibly a simply futuristic trellis.
 
Finally, a plan view (in more ways than one) of this set shows how it was a longish, rectangular room attached to the round preexisting INT. RECREATION ROOM set.  From it, we see that the action that was “to open” the scene was planned for over at the extreme right.  We see that there is a “not practical” (no need to be able to open) door leading to the “carnivorous plants.)  We see that there is a short length of corridor outside the double doors of the round INT. RECREATION ROOM portion of the set.  And lastly, we see that this set was intended for Desilu Stage 10–Star Trek‘s “swing set” stage.
 
Herbarium Plan View    
 
In the end, almost all of the planned set (or at least the brainstormed set) was simply a redress of the INT. RECREATION ROOM set from “Elaan of Troyius” and “And the Children Shall Lead.”  (People sometimes think these two sets are supposed to represent the same place on the fictional Starship Enterprise; they aren’t.  One is intended to be a public off-duty place of enjoyment; the other is a private scientific and secure facility.)  Because the INT. HERBARIUM is a re-dress of the INT. RECREATION ROOM, they obviously have a lot of common elements.  There is still the same set of yellow double doors over at screen right with the single red alert light to the right of the doors.
 
Herbarium Set
 
There’s the same set of bluish floor-to-ceiling panels, but there’s no longer a nice comfy bench in front of it for relaxing.  (Instead, there’s now a planter with a variety of plants–including a tangerine tree and a kumquat tree.)
 
Herbarium Set
 
There are still the overhead arches and there’s still a planter just to the left of these blue floor-to-ceiling, still filled with plants–in this case they are filled with the roses (and thorns) needed by the script for Dr. Jones to prick her finger.  There’s still the second set of blue floor-to-ceiling panels farther to the left–but the bench that had been in front of the other blue floor-to-ceiling panel for the Recreation Room set has been moved to in front of this set of blue floor-to-ceiling panels–replacing the table and chairs with the three-dimensional chess set.  But note how high the plant is in the foreground, as the camera tracks the actors walking down the aisles.  (Like the three-dimensional chess set or the space checkers or the Checkline tic-tac-toe set, set decorations need to go up-and-down in order to be seen well by the camera.)
 
Herbarium Set
 
Travelling farther to the left, the wall which had been filled with a series of food synthesizer doors, is now replaced with a plain, less-distracting, blank wall.  (No food synthesizers are needed for a facility which is both non-recreational and restricted.)
 
Herbarium Set
 
But the centerpiece (quite literally) of this INT. HERBARIUM set is the free-standing, open, mid-set planter as envisioned by Matt Jefferies.  The planter with the larger, curvy, arbor  that had been the centerpiece of the INT. RECREATION ROOM set was removed–as were the platform with the sunbather and the ice cream picnic table.  In their place was this newly-built free-standing planter.  The control interface–whatever it is–is visible down at the end.  The camera dollies past this control panel, so it’s hard to get a good look at it.  But here’s a montage:
 
Free-standing Planter
 
(Ultimately, the tall structure–whatever it was meant to be–was absent from the final set.)
 
Absent from the re-dressed Recreation Room set is the no-longer-needed extra “wrong door” through which Dr. Jones tries to exit–much less a door labeled “Venomous and Carnivorous – Positively No Admittance – Danger!”
 
In the end, this was the one and only appearance of the INT. HERBARIUM set; like the appearance of the INT. RECREATION ROOM set in “And the Children Shall Lead,” this, INT. HERBARIUM set, too, was a set we never saw again.
 
Probably, the overriding walkaway from all this is that the INT. HERBARIUM set, was meant to be a scientific yet somewhat romantic place–Kirk’s favorite room, and a little piece of Earth.  This, room, unlike Sulu’s INT. BOTANY LAB from episode number 6 “The Man Trap,” with it’s weeper plants and the exotic “Gertrude”/”Beauregard” plant (or “sentient plant” as it was called in the script), was not full of crazy alien plants; it was populated with roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, corn plants, orchids, ferns, tangerine trees. and kumquat  trees: a little slice of Earth–not a collection of crazy plants from around the galaxy.  (You’ll find all the crazy, exotic plants over in the Botany Lab, not in the ship’s Herbarium.)
 
As a sidebar, a little bit about scriptwriter Jean Lisette Aroeste is in order:
 
Jean Lisette Aroeste (born October 2, 1932, in Virginia) was a librarian at UCLA and a Star Trek fan who became one of only four writers with no prior television writing credits to sell scripts to the program.  Her first sale, “Is There In Truth No Beauty,” was an unsolicited script which Star Trek co-producer Bob Justman read and recommended to Gene Roddenberry.  She also sold the story “A Handful of Dust,” which was eventually produced as “All Our Yesterdays.”  These two episodes were her only television sales.
 
She had previously been an acquisitions librarian at the Harvard University Library; after UCLA, she subsequently became the head of References and Collection Development at the Princeton University Library.
 

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About Gregory L. Schnitzer

Gregory L. Schnitzer is Co-Executive Producer on the fan-based Internet series Star Trek Phase II (formerly known as Star Trek New Voyages). Greg is a Registered Nurse and is generally in charge of Emergency Medical Services at the Star Trek Phase II shoots. He also generally serves as the production's Property Master and on-again, off-again Set Decorator. Born and raised in the beautiful but smoggy San Fernando Valley (which he still calls "home"), in real life, Greg is a Registered Nurse and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, and currently works in the field of Health Information Management at various facilities and in various capacities in the Washington, D.C., greater metropolitan region.