Joe, our Gardens' Director, who has only a relatively newfound interest in plants and no formal education in Botany is a great example of this. At one time he couldn't have cared less about plants and probably would have been one to choose to skip the tour during his vacation, but after coming across some ways in which people depend on plants, he became the botanical version of a born-again Christian. One day at work, I remember he excitedly asked me, "Rick! Did you know plants make themselves completely from only water, sunlight, air, and a few ounces of soil and that they are ultimately the source of all our food???" To which I responded, "Yes..." as though he had just asked if I knew that he has two legs and sleeps at night. To him, learning something like this about plants is a sort of revelation, and although I probably felt similarly when I first learned about the same thing, I (as well as other plant people) have known it for so long that it is something I take for granted.
|This orchid in our orchid house doesn't even use soil - it produces this incredibly colorful and profuse bloom from just air, water, and sunlight. Veritable alchemy!|
|Food made from the underground stem of the coontie plant (Zamia integrifolia) was one of the only things soldiers gassed in World War I could eat shortly afterwards without vomiting.|
|The tendrils of the skyflower vine (Thunbergia grandiflora) have an observable sense of touch - they coil around any nearby objects they find.|
Hope to see you soon!