Thursday, 17 March 2016

Flora Abunda ... remembering, to survive, we depend on these ...



Plants play such an important role in our lives … those early roamers worked out which plants were edible … probably by watching the animals and birds forage them. 



Flora Plant Diversity
Over geological epochs plant life has evolved into this amazing array of choice we have today, plants surviving in the various zones on earth – plants co-evolved with organisms to assist with the transfer of pollen for fertilisation …



… from 290 million years ago when plants first produced seed, having customised themselves to the titanic forces that had created earth in the 4.25 billennia of years before.




World Map with Temperate zones highlighted in green
By 140 million years ago the first flowering plants were evolving and in a relatively short geological time after this (60 – 70 million years) they had evolved so much that flowering plants became dominant.




As the continental plates gloopily moved, jerked, or exploded into the positions we find our continents in today - about 65 million years ago … we know some of this through the plant species left on various lands, which are unique today.



Flora Fern in Devonian geologic period  (420 to
360 million years ago) found in disturbed volcanic land
We have been around perhaps 3 million years, after the recent discovery in South Africa; but as we continued to evolve into the homo-sapiens we know today … we wandered the continents as we could or were able to …



Plants and animals set us on our way … gave us some route maps to follow … and if we couldn’t follow the wind, we eventually went by sea – homo sapiens copying the flora and fauna …


Plant Evolution Timeline


About 12,000 years ago after the last ice age retreated homo-sapiens started to settle for periods … and over the millennia became more domesticated tending to crops, as well as taming animals … leading to the farming we know today. 



Aristotle divided all living things between plants (which generally do not move) and animals (which are often mobile to catch their food). 



In Linnaeus’ system, these became the Kingdoms Vegetabilia and Animalia … since then we have become more knowledgeable …






Bee covered in pollen

Ralph Waldo Emerson understood that     “ … a weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered” … or as we became modern farmers/ gardeners a plant that simply wants to grow where people want something else:  such is life! 





Flora Abunda Blue Egyptian Lily -
from the Temple of Flora 1807

In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit?!  Weeds are people’s idea, not nature’s.  Bees love weeds … they provide a variety of nectars … similar to our need to have a balanced diet – bees cannot live productively on one plant source – nor could we.



We need plants more and we need to appreciate them more … they are our lungs, they feed us, we do not stress so much if they are in abundance – we have food, and we can find solace in their world – they let us have some peaceful co-existence with them. 


Flora Abunda Tulips -
from The Temple of Flora 1807

Those long walks … wherever we go – plants, the kingdom Plantae, are with us … they can survive living happily in deserts, jungles, sea-shores, disaster areas – plants return first – before humans in due time settle or re-settle.



Their colours inspire us, their scent entices us, their form give us ideas for design … while each part gives something … perhaps a herb or a medicine, a seed for a bird, a mulch for a new seedling … a new concept …



The book: Remarkable Plants That
Shape Our World
We have come to appreciate plants, yet seem not to understand that their destruction, each unique organism, is a “Passing-Bell” to others and ultimately the "Death Knell" to our way of life.  They will survive … we may well not.



The post was inspired by an article in The Lady I found in a waiting room … which advertised a new book: Remarkable Plants That Shape OurWorld, by Helen and William Bynum.



I also found an article from September 2014 in the Guardian – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – review … the article is worth a read or scan … 


Happy St Patrick's Day ... and may we all live a carefree life of ease, comfort and prosperity ... as denoted by living in clover.



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

38 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

A timely post for me. I'm 'doing' wild flowers for A-Z.

Elephant's Child said...

Happy St Patrick's Day.
How right you are about plants. And I would go further and add in bees as well.
We really, really need to start taking better care of our home. And remembering that it iSN'T (and shouldn't be) all about us.

Rhodesia said...

Lovely post and very interesting. Happy St Patrick's day Diane

Lynn said...

I am constantly amazed at the resilience of plants - they pop up in the oddest places. My late mother had wild mint growing in their back yard - she said it was a "volunteer" - love that.

Nicola said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Hilary. I love plants and flowers and especiailly like to take photographs of them. Very interesting and knowledgeable post. Now I know who to ask if I have a plant question :)

Friko said...

Simplified, abbreviated, but basically that’s how it went. Except that the early hunter gatherers soon learned to breed crops themselves and settled down to farming. They also adapted wild creatures to become livestock and began to raise herds of domestic animals too.

For the purpose of blogging a ‘reader’s digest’ like this post is a good pointer towards more in depth learning of a huge chunk of pre-history.

I am glad to see that your interests are still as wide-ranging as ever.

Out on the prairie said...

I laughed when someone asked me if I planted weeds, referring to the native species I love. I said perhaps, but i pull them also.Love my flowers and plants, they are almost family to me. I will start some tomatoes this weekend indoors.I have 13 kinds of seed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob - oh good ... happy to help with your A-Z .. I shall be over, but we're not covering the same subjects this year ...

@ EC - I think St Patrick's Day is passing me by ... but that's fine - the sun shines and life is good.

Yes I did include bees ... and I'd written about them with the elephants ... yet there's always more that could be added - then I'm writing a book - and that is something I definitely couldn't achieve ...

As you mention life is about all around us - we are an integral and minor part ... so so true ...

@ Diane - thanks so much ...

@ Lynn - plants are, as you say, much more resilient than we are ... mint is a classic volunteer - always somewhere around and so good.

@ Nicola - taking photographs of your plants must be a wonderful hobby ... and passion, if you can then turn it into a blog or booklet ...

Well if I don't know the answer ... I can direct you to some blogging friends who will - so you're welcome to ask!

@ Friko - thanks so much .. and yes, I could have added so much more - but I pared it right back. For me this is a short post - yet long in the context of others ...

Thanks too re the note on a 'reader's digest' for others to learn from - I've a few of these type of things scattered through the blog - I even surprise myself with what I've written - when I find it!

Oh - my interests are exceedingly wide ... I don't ever seem to stop checking ideas out etc ... so thank you.

@ Steve - I know ... wild plants/natives are very special .. and even small patches of nettles are so helpful to wildlife.

I know you love your land, your plants, your animals and birds ... and of course the family - it's always good to stop by and see the heritage ... even thirteen heritage tomatoes ...

Cheers to you all ... it's great to see such rewarding comments - thank you ... Hilary

Patsy said...

I like pretty well all plants. There are some weeds I won't tolerate in the garden, but even thistles and bindweed can look good if they're on a piece of waste ground a safe distance away from my patch. I've started growing far more wild flowers. Their delicatebeauty seems perfect for small gardens where we can see them, and the insects which feed on them, close up.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

There are pretty plants and some freaky plants! :) I love seeing fossilized plants too.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Joanne said...

Happy St.Patrick's Day and a bounty of four leaf clovers. I am very good at growing weeds. That's why I enjoy visiting the arboretum - they stay weed free and share a colorful flower bounty. We do need to stay vigilant and keep plant life happy.

beste barki said...

Hilary, Happy St. Patrick's Day. Your topic is close to my heart. As you know, I love all plants.
Salut, Beste

Annalisa Crawford said...

Our planet is remarkable. Sadly, I think we'll only realise and appreciate it when it's too late.

A Heron's View said...

Nature survives and changes the face of the planet regardless of whether humans occupy it or not; we are not really needed at all.
In regards to the civilisations that have inhabited the earth, I rather agree with the Geologist Dr. John Feehan who says that there have been several civilisations who have come and gone during the life of this planet.

St. Patrick, a historic Welshman for who most of the world sees as Irish tut, tut, tut!
I know of one actual Irishman whose 125th anniversary of his birth is today and that is Harry Clark the renown designer of stained glass windows.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Without plants, we're not breathing!

Paula Kaye said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you Hilary!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy - yes I gathered you like your garden, and allotment and all the joy they bring you and Gary. Exactly a patch in some waste ground nearby can be made to look pretty - without actually taking the life-form away - which the insects and birds will love.

Wild flowers are lovely and I agree they will be perfect for the smaller gardens ... and more natural for all forms of life ...

@ Holly - some plants are just plain clever! Thank goodness for fossilized plants - they tell us about our previous lives ...

@ Joanne - yes I'd love some 4 leaf-clovers that would be very healthy. I don't have a garden - though I'd love to have one - sometime again I hope. The arboretum must be gorgeous to be nearby and be able to visit ..

@ Beste - I do know you love your herbs and wild plants ...

@ Annalisa - you're right about the planet being remarkable ... and you may be right about us realising how foolish we are about our way of living ... too lete ...

@ Mel - Yes nature has done it's own thing over the millennia and billennia ... we aren't needed ... and we don't mix and match as plants, animals and insects do - they co-habit.

Thanks for the mention re John Feehan - I'll have to read up on him .. but he could definitely be right.

St Patrick .. tut, tut, tut ... he could well be Welsh or Oirish! We just don't know .. but St David is in Wales .. I think we'll leave St Patrick with his clover!

I checked out Harry Clarke - but need to read more ... you keep me going with threads out ...

@ Alex - exactly ... no air to breathe ...

@ Paula - thank you ...

Cheers to one and all - take care and enjoy the rest of St Patrick's Day - Hilary

Chrys Fey said...

I love plants and love that there have been plants since the beginning of time. :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

A Cuban In London said...

I loved Emerson's quote. Your post reminded me of one of my favourite songs, Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants". :-) Beautiful post.

Greetings from London.

Marie Smith said...

Great post. Thank you!

Yolanda Renee said...

As the days grow longer, the snow melts and the ground gets warmer, the color green and soon the colors of spring are coming forth. I love gardening it's such a stress reducer. But you're right our nourishment, our medicines all come from those seeds. If they don't survive, can we?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Chrys - it's interesting they came first isn't it .. and then we need them. They certainly cheer our life up and set the seasons as the year rolls along ...

@ ACIL - Thanks for highlighting Stevie Wonder's song ... I hadn't been aware of it before ... I'll have to get back and listen properly and read the lyrics through ...

Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/steviewonder/thesecretlifeofplants.html
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PveWXfUZEJg

@ Marie - good to see you

@ Yolanda - I would love to have a small garden ... as you're so right - just getting out into the garden and planting, trimming, weeding etc and that fresh air ... is so good for you ...

If we ruin our nature ... we could well be in trouble ... as we are not letting natural selection work on its own ...

Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the post - cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

I don't know very much about plants, but my friend Ilona knows probably all ! For each disease she has a plant which can heal you ! She only uses natural things ! It's amazing sometimes what a a simple weed can do for your health !

Elsie Amata said...

I'm so glad it's almost the season for all the beautiful flowers to start blooming. I'm starting to see the blossoms of daffodils in our area now. Yay! I can't wait. Can you imagine having to be the first people to figure out what to eat and what not eat? No thanks!

TexWisGirl said...

a wonderful post for spring. we think of evolution in terms of animals so often but forget about plants spreading, too.

Lowcarb team member said...

It is all so easy to take our plants for granted. We should take time to enjoy them, and there are always lots to see.

Wishing you a good weekend - hope the weather is good and we can get out and about.

All the best Jan

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - I'm glad Ilona is so knowledgeable. Brilliant if she can help with a plant to heal .. I know there's lots of opportunity out there - nature provides lots of answers...

@ Elsie - yes it's wonderful that Spring is on its way and we see the trees leaving and flowers blooming. Our daffodils have been out for ages - a warm winter. I know being a taster in those ancient days would be a challenge - still I'd want to eat!

@ Theresa - thanks so much ... and yes evolution is everything in life - which surprises many ...

@ Jan - it is lovely at this time of year ... as we see more and more plants come to life - in their own cycle of time ... looks like it'll be chilly - but let's hope Easter will be warmer - I hope!!

Cheers and Spring is coming - that wonderful birthing of a new season .. have good weekends - Hilary

Melissa Sugar said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you as well. I had to laugh when I read the comment about someone asking the person if they grew weeds. Someone asked me that once. I love to garden. It's like therapy for me. But I have some magnificent weeds that truly love to over power my flower beds. I absolutely refuse to use any of the harmful chemicals to get rid of the weeds. Not just because of how harmful they are, but also because I have dogs and it scares me that they might eat something that could kill them. Plus I love seeing the bunnies in my front yard and I would hate to put anything in my garden that could harm or kill them.So, if I grow weeds along with my flowers and plants then so be it.

I wanted to thank you for the kind words you left on my blog after my dad died. I just haven't been very good at getting back to people. I wasn't myself for a while after he died. I'm trying to get all of my A to Z posts written in advance this year so I will have more time to visit this year. 2015, was such a very tough year and 2016 got off to a rough start, but now it's getting better and I'm feeling like it's going to be much better from here on out. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with you this year. Take care.

Christine Rains said...

What a lovely post. I've grown to appreciate plants and their various beautiful blooms as I've grown older. I'm not quite the gardener my Nana is, but I have a little of her green thumb. This year, I'm planting several new varieties in my yard and I can't wait to see them flower. Happy Spring, Hilary! :)

DMS said...

Beautiful post! I love plants and gardening. :) I agree that even weeds can be important. I am always amazed at how many edible plants our ancestors discovered. Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Melissa - thanks so much for coming by and commenting. I'm glad gardening is such a pleasurable occupation .. and it certainly is therapeutic. It is amazing how we used to poison all particularly 'nasty' weeds ... well we did in our garden in the 50s/60s ... then suddenly knowledge dawned - that it wasn't the wisest idea. We all practise natural gardening now .. and let the plants sort themselves out - much the best.

Rabbits ... um! I agree they are sweet .. but they eat everything ... as ours do here, also the deer ... but good for you for protecting them. We do our best .. wrapping netting round their trunks - to try and let the trees grow. The dogs and the cat keep the rabbits out of the garden - nature ruling again.

You have had a very tough year and I can quite understand you were out of sorts - it's good to know you'll be around for the A-Z and I look forward to seeing you there ..

It's good to know - life is looking up for you ... all the best for the future ...

@ Christine - it's good to learn and appreciate our natural world - your little one will love the gardening aspects too. How wonderful to know you can remember your Nana through your garden and its plants - good for you ... and enjoy those new varieties ...

@ Jess - plants and gardening give us all much pleasure and sometimes relief from the world around us. Weeds can rule too ... giving much needed respite to some insects, plants etc ... Plants etc are extraordinary ... humans working out what we can eat ... while they evolved and developed new varieties over the aeons ...

Thanks so much - delighted this post is proving a happy one for you all .. cheers Hilary

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

I'm sorry for my absence on your blog. Of course, whenever I do getting around to visiting your site, you always write a most comprehensive article.

Indeed, we have to understand the ecological balance that we share with plants. We evolved as farmers and we must truly learn to appreciate, as you so eloquently state, "they are our lungs..."

A happy belated St. Patrick's Day to you, Hilary. Hope you have a lovely Sunday.

Cheers,

Gary

riandurants said...

Amazing post :) I love plants and if I go ahead with the AZ challenge, most of the posts will probably be flowers.

Sai Charan said...

Enjoyed reading this post Hilary!! Thank you :) You have used the word "billennia" which is new to me, didn't come across this word before, so checked it on the dictionary and have added it to my vocabulary :)

Loved the photos you used in this post. Can't imagine a refreshing long walk without plants around, so they definitely deserve appreciation.

Cheers,
Sai :)

Cascia Talbert said...

Interesting post about plants. I love gardening and am thrilled that my flowers are starting to poke through the ground. Spring is my favorite time of year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gary - no worries ... yes the plants are our lungs aren't they ... if only we could just remember all the good things plants do for us ..

@ Rian - I look forward to your A-Z on flowers ...

@ Sai - good to see you .. I thought I'd made up "billennia" .. but if it's in the dictionary: that's good news! Walks with flowers, plants and nature around us - all is good ...

@ Cascia - Spring is an excellent time of year .. I'd be happy if it'd warm up a bit more!

Cheers to you all and I'll see you at the A-Z - Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

Love the flora fern picture. It's so wonderful that an ancient plant can be captured in this way.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - good to see you and yes that Flora Fern from ancient times is quite amazing isn't it .. cheers Hilary