Seed Catalogues and Lists of Trees

This time the links are all about plants.

:: Dying trees send food to neighbouring trees, even those of another species. Of course this is thanks to mycorrhizal fungi; the article speculates a little about what evolutionary pressures might have produced this effect.

:: Maria Popova has released a book called Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees; brain pickings has some of the book’s photographs for you to peruse, and they are beautiful.

:: One of my favourite Weekly Wonders was the Quaking Aspen, a species I encountered often in Alberta. That entry includes a link to Pando, a clonal colony of aspens that technically counts as a single copse-sized organism.

:: Pando, in turn, takes us to Wikipedia’s List of Notable Trees, which has some very interesting members. Somehow it never occurs to me that trees might be famous or named, but given how old and prominent they can be, I don’t know why it should surprise me.

:: Moving away from trees now, the same person who sent me the link to Popova’s Bark posted on Facebook a link to When Plants Attack, a video which includes real-time and time-lapse photography of carnivorous plants. The video depicts quite a lot of arachnid and crustacean death, so don’t watch it if that bothers you; otherwise, you can watch these plants unfurl and grow, and it is entrancing.

:: You might also watch the Smithsonian Channel’s video of explosive seed dispersal techniques; the sound effects are a bit much, but the plants are impressive.

:: My final link is a bit of a stretch, but Slate’s Rebecca Onion describes the Nelson archive, which consists of the juvenilia of three rural boys in 19th-century America. They created their own continents and populated them with heroes and infrastructure; they also wrote a fictional seed catalogue, containing what I can only call Mary Sue strains of seed. It is a very interesting read, and not just for the seed catalogue fanfic.

6 thoughts on “Seed Catalogues and Lists of Trees

  1. I’m amused by the aspens that technically count as “single copse-sized organism” and comments along the lines of a warning “in case arachnid or crustacean death upsets you.”
    Oh, and the wording “seed catalogue fanfic.”

    Thinking of you ’cause I saw your “I’m taking a break” comment on the ole “Unequally Yoked” blog.
    (multiple days after you said it.)
    The thing you’d said… with the writing and re-writing a comment struck a chord with me. (Yeah, that!)
    Wanted to check in ‘n see how you’re doing.



    • Sorry I’m so tardy in replying!

      Yeah, the line between “organism” and “community” isn’t always clear among plants. As humans we tend to conflate “organism” and “individual” (in the sense of “person”), but I don’t think that’s so clear biologically.

      Thanks for checking in.


      • That’s a useful thought.

        I think in non-western cultures, there’s less emphasis on the individual. (though self-centeredness manifests itself in its own way in those cultures)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s