Human Flower Project
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sed Qualis Illa Latine?
“But what is it in Latin?” With new international rules, plants will no longer have to be described in Latin.
The former Aster oblongifolius (now Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) has a complete description in Latin.
Photo: Illinois Wildflowers
Horticulturists, at least those fluent in English, just got a bye from the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). As of January 1, 2012, plant scientists will no longer have to provide a Latin description of newly identified species in order to get these plants on the books, as it were. Now, such descriptions can be made in either Latin or English, and for the most part, the reaction among botanists has been very favorable.
By expanding the ways in which new species can be introduced, most experts say, discoveries in the plant kingdom can be more swiftly catalogued, speeding up research. Most critically, speeding up the international system of identification, many say, will make it possible to protect more endangered plants sooner, before they face extinction.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
AMDG—With Flowers in Macon
“To the greater glory of God”—fourteen churches lay their flowers in a Macon, Georgia, Catholic sanctuary.
Members of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church (l-r) Rosa Harris and Paula Cacavias brought flowers and an icon to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon, Georgia, last week.
Photo: Beau Cabell, for Macon Telegraph
You know you’ve got a good thing going when people ask: “Why didn’t we think of this sooner?”
That’s been the question this past week in Macon, Georgia, with the city’s first display of interfaith unity. As part of Macon’s Old City Flower Festival, the flower guild members of St. Joseph Catholic Church decided to ask other congregations to come together and decorate.
St. Joseph’s pastor, the Rev. Allan McDonald, “admits he was skeptical “ that other churches would agree to participate and now “says he’s thrilled.” Members of thirteen congregations – Presbyterian, Greek Orthodox, Episcopalian, Baptist and Methodist – have taken part.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Floral Demonstrations Grow Thorns
There’s a new spirit abroad in floral protests, not just “in your face” but “on your case.”
Striking junior doctors marched in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh Jan. 16 with “sympathy” flowers for the chief minister who has yet to meet their demands.
Photo: Raju. V
Are flowers the new pink slip?
Since 2004, we’ve been reporting on how flowers feature in protest across the world, from the pink gladioli brandished by Cuba’s Damas de Blanco, to bouquets laid outside Shanghai’s Google headquarters—when the government threatened to suspend the company’s operations in China.
In these demonstrations, flowers proudly identify the bearers (the pink gladiolus has become the emblem of the Cuban civil rights marchers) or they express solidarity with the recipient (for example, the Internet giant).
But increasingly, we see floral protests taking another form: rather than standing FOR an organization or being presented TO someone, they’re delivered AGAINST.
The most recent example comes from Andhra Pradesh, India. Last week, junior doctors (known in the U.S. as medical students, interns and residents) took flowers to the Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy along with placards reading “Get well soon CM.”
The show of mock-sympathy was an early demonstration in the junior physicians’ strike, now in its 9th day. “The junior doctors have been boycotting elective duties since January 14, demanding regular payment and a hike of stipends, reduction of rural service, health insurance and improvement of emergency infrastructure.” (Interesting to note that Indian doctors don’t have health insurance!)
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Taking out one endangered tree seems to cause more alarm than the threat to a whole species. Allen Bush takes out an ash and takes on the neighborhood.
The Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis B)
By Allen Bush
Arborists cut down our big white ash tree a few weeks before Christmas. It had stood in the front yard since 1974. My neighbors weren’t happy with me. My pleas for any understanding fell on deaf ears throughout the holidays in coffee shops, at parties, on the street. I promised everyone that there would be a better tree that goes in its place.
“Good luck,” I was told.
“We’re tree huggers!” one critic added. No one seemed to know what kind of tree it was, or even care why I’d taken it out. None of that mattered. Our tree was their tree. “What a bummer,” one passerby lamented.
At least the neighbors weren’t marching down Top Hill Road in solidarity, carrying Louisville Slugger baseball bats made from white ash wood, at least not yet. “I see you took the down the tree,” is not a neutral declaration. It means I have looted the neighborhood. I am the ash assassin.
Nobody cared that the tree removal was a preemptive strike, ahead of the emerald ash borer (EAB). This insect has already launched an assault on tens of thousands of ash trees in Louisville alone.
Our white ash (Fraxinus americana) should never have been planted in the first place, at least not in our front yard. (White ash grows naturally from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, south to northern Florida. It extends west to eastern Texas and eastern Minnesota.)