This post is for the little tiny girl, a friend of mine, to read, when she grows up a bit. And for the rest of us, to read to the little girls and boys who want to listen a story about a deaf boy and a giant plant.
Once upon a time, many years ago, a little boy lived in Luneburg in Germany. He was, as little boys always were, kind and vivid, and he liked hiking in nature very much. But this little boy, Gustav, was also a bit different from the other kids, he was deaf and mute. He could not play with other kids that much, as he did not understand them. Instead he loved to admire plants, he wandered in the forest to see how different plants grew. Yet he was a lucky boy , suddenly he was able to hear and talk, with a difficulty, but still. So he learned many new languages and a lot about plants. Growing up a bit he started to learn for a goldsmith, but soon enough he decided his love for plants was stronger. He became a gardener and even more, a plant collector! Imagine how happy he was , travelling far away to wander tropical forests searching for new orchids, palms, epiphytes! He really made a good use of his love for the plants and the foreign languages he had learnt so hard. He brought to Europe many new plants, unknown till the time……And, this is a story about all of us, too. For only with hard learning and profound love for the nature, as Gustav had it, we won’t become deaf and mute for the importance of all species in nature surrounding us. You think I’ve made it up? Have a look at the magnificent king anthurium, anthurium veichii on the photos above. This is one of the plants Gustav had discovered on his trips far away! You bet all the learning was worth it!
Gustav Wallis (1 May 1830 – 20 June 1878) was a German plant collector, who introduced over 1,000 plant species to Europe, many of which were named after him.
Wallis was deaf and mute until six years of age, and it was not until 1836 that he as able to talk. As a consequence, he suffered from a speech defect during his entire life.
In December 1872, he was sent to Colombia, where he had explored previously, returning in 1874 with many finds, including two giant-leaved Anthuriums, A. veitchii and A. warocqueanum, as well as several interesting and valuable orchids, including various species ofMasdevallia.