Buddleia and botanical correspondence anno 1702





Buddleja or Buddleia , the butterflyy bush, was named by Linneaus in honour of botanist Adam Buddle . Buddle (1662-1715) died before the bush was named after him, but reading some old letters of him we can assume he, as a profound botany lover altrough a wery humble and modest one, would appreciate this gesture…

You were pleased to say you would send me some seeds and roots of your northern plants : they would be extreamly wellcome to me and to Chelsea Garden, which is now putting into very good order ; and the first place we design ( for I call myself of the number ) to cultivate all the rare English plants we can get to grow there ; and I hope you will answer our longing expectation of some from you, in answer to which I promise you the seeds and roots of any plants growing in the garden, which I assure you is very much improving.
I have no more to say now; but beg specimens, or your remarks on the following catalogue.
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
Excerpt from the letter from Mr. Buddle to Dr. Richardson, Gray’s Inn, May 28th, 1709
From: Extracts from the Literary and Scientific Correspondence of……Richard Richardson, Dawson Turner, Charles Sloman, Thordarson Collection, Harvard University,

Verbascum thapsus, Theophrastus and Historia plantarum




This summer a big mullein has appeared in our garden , I don’t know where has it come from, nor where would it go to next year, but I am grateful for its beauty bringing joy in our days. Apparently it has been a big traveler for a long time, meeting Carolus Linnaeaus to get its name in 1753. Thapsus part of its name was introduced even before, by Theophrastus. Each time we admire yellow mullein flowers we should praise Theophrastus, head of Peripatetic school for almost forty years that  wrote Historia plantarum- Enquiry into Plants to influence renaissance science profoundly. There he introduced classification of plants based on their reproduction ( anno 350 BC !! ) and was since then considered father of the botany. And as mullein has many flowers, so Theophrastus had many talents and interests. Regarding happiness I feel admiring my visiting mullein shall I cite:

In ethics, he regarded happiness as depending on external influences as well as on virtue and famously said that “life is ruled by fortune, not wisdom.” from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophrastus

Anything else to say as: enjoy the summer beauty of mullein as long it lasts !

Theophrastus, depicted as a medieval scholar in theNuremberg Chronicle 

Frontispiece to the illustrated 1644 edition of theEnquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) both pictures from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophrastus

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Lemons and art

When I remember Capri I remember lemon trees. Blue blue sky, azure sea and yellow, yellow lemons on the trees. I brought some lemons home from Capri. As they were gone I felt so sad not having any good photos of Capri lemon trees. I had  photos of Capri lemons, even of ceramic ones, but of no lemon trees.  Searching net for nice pictures of lemon trees I’ve found a picture as bright as those lemons from Capri. And I’ve discovered a great American artist,Charles Demuth. His art makes me happy, as those lemon trees from Capri did.





Zinnias and a Blue Dish with Lemons - Charles Demuth

“Zinnias and a Blue Dish with Lemons” oil on Canvas. Charles Demuth, 1924, from:http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_239022/Charles-Demuth/page-1

File:Demuth Charles The Boat Ride from Sorrento.jpg

The boat ride from Sorrento, Charles Demuth, from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Demuth_Charles_The_Boat_Ride_from_Sorrento.jpg



Viburnum tinus and a parallel world



Viburnum tinus is among  stars of the Mediterranean spring. Its dark green leaves contrast fragrant pentamerous flowers in white or pale pink, evolving into dark blue fruit resembling small pearls. Yet this obvious picture from maquis has its invisible side .It is called domatium, after Latin word domus, for home. Domatia are microscopically small chambers at the under sides of the evergreen leaves. Plant grows domatia to host mites. In this way Viburnum tinus can be seen as a botanical skyscraper with many  tiny apartments for arthropod neighbors. Imagine a little mite calling her friends to come over for a party at her condo! I am kidding, it only fascinates me to recognize there is another life underlying the botanical beauty of the plant we can see with our eyes. It is like a parallel world. Only the question remains, are the mites, or are we , at the right side?



Masquerade and Plants




There were many beautiful illustrations in the old zoological textbook I wrote about in my last post. Today I’ve picked some illustrious examples of what is known as masquerade or mimesis. Basically, prey animals during evolution developed mechanisms, to camouflage and have higher surveillance rates. Mimetic animals look like something else, not interesting to the predator, like bark, twig, leaf or even lichen. You have the examples on the pictures above, they are actuary  full of  mother nature’s wit. But could it be presumed, that mimesis is a form of  aggressive influential behaviour? Meaning ,that flora in general, is in a way pushing other species to try to survive by being more flora like. Which in turn ends in better surveillance rates of real flora, as the, so to say, fake mimetic subjects de facto are ”incompetent plants”? Would like to hear your opinion about this science-fiction idea!

Daucus carota-Queen Anne’s lace





D. carota was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as “Queen Anne’s lace”. Both Anne, Queen of Great Britain, and her great grandmother Anne of Denmark are taken to be the Queen Anne for which the plant is named.[6] from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daucus_carota


Anne, Queen of Great Britain from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne,_Queen_of_Great_Britain

Anne of Denmark in mourning.jpg

Anne of Denmark, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_of_Denmark