Sunday, January 16, 2022

Plant Story--Eucalyptus in Northern California, Eucalyptus globulus

 

Operator: "911. What is your emergency?"
Man: "I need an ambulance; a guy here is hurt."
Operator: "What is your location?"
Man: "I'm on Eucalyptus Street."
Operator: "Please spell that for me?"
Man: (long pause)
Operator: "Sir? Sir? Are you there?"
Man: "I'm just gonna drag him over to Maple Street. Call you right back."

eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus
eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus

Sunday, January 9, 2022

A Glimpse of Phoenix, Arizona

My husband and I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, in early December; the goal to get away for a few days. Mostly we went to museums and ate out. But we were in Arizona because it is mild in the winter, and even in a musuem trip, I couldn't miss the distinctive plants. 

hillside with saguaro cacti, Arizona
Hill of saguaro cacti

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Plant Story: Poinsettia Update

This December, it was easy to encounter posts pointing out that Poinsett, from whom poinsettias take their name, was a racist. Consequently, say these posts, we should use the Aztec (Nahuatl) name, cuetlaxochitl (ket la sho she) instead. I do not think it is that simple.  

poinsettia/ cuetlaxochitl/flor de la noche buena, Euphorbia pulcherrima,
poinsettia/ cuetlaxochitl/ flor de la noche buenaEuphorbia pulcherrima,

Most people have no idea of the history of the plants around them. Plant species go back thousands of years, so they will have interacted with dozens of human cultures over time and space. Individual humans learn the name of familiar plants from a relative or friend and are rarely taught about its history. 
I learned poinsettia as a name, struggled a bit to remember and spell it, but never, before writing a blog post six years ago (link), wondered what a poinset was.