Mystery Plant! #763

Mystery Plant! #763 John Nelson Posted 2/21/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com¡Guacamo-le! Guacamo-le! Me gusta el guacamo-le!                                                                                       --a kids’ songThere are two basic reasons why you should make, and eat, guacamole.First, it tastes great. Guacamole, of course, comes from the avocado plant, which is native to warm semitropical forests of the New...

Mystery Plant! #762

Mystery Plant! #762 John Nelson Posted 2/14/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com"In an early spring we see the appearing buds;Which to prove fruit, hope gives not so much warrant as despairThat frosts will bite them."                                King Henry IV, Part 2: I: 3.I'm just like Lord Bardolph, who was afraid that just as soon...

Mystery Plant 761

Mystery Plant! #761 John Nelson Posted 2/7/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comIt's so Fly-Day, Fly-Day Chinatown…                                                                Yasuha, 1981This song came out 40 years ago, or so, and of course I wasn’t “hip” enough then to quite understand what it was all about. It was a rather popular song, though, in a good many...

Mystery Plant 760

Mystery Plant! #760 John Nelson Posted 1/31/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comOne of my favorite trees here at the University grows right behind the herbarium. It’s been there for years (the building was constructed about 1974), and is now about 25’ tall. (I’m terrible at estimating heights of trees…but let’s just say that...

Mystery Plant 759

Mystery Plant! #759 John Nelson Posted 1/24/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comNot many flowers to see about this time of year, and certainly not those of woody plants. There are a few: you may know of Cornelian cherry with its very early yellow flowers, and then there a few varieties of “winter cherry”...

Mystery Plant 758

Mystery Plant! #758 John Nelson Posted 1/19/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comIf you are a cocker-spaniel, you may not want to look at this picture!            Here’s a plant with a kind of midwinter brutal beauty, the drying leaf stalks topped with a constellation of brown, spiny burs. You might have a feeling...

Mystery Plant! #757

Mystery Plant! #757 John Nelson Posted 1/19/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com            The Father of plant taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, probably had had a run-in with his editor, while working on his monumental Species Plantarum, in which he attempted to describe all the known plant species of his day....

Mystery Plant! #756

Mystery Plant! #756 John Nelson Posted 1/3/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWhen clouds appear, wise men put on their cloaks;                When great leaves fall, the winter is at hand.                                                Shakespeare, Richard III: II, 3. Can we talk about leaves?Your botany professor probably waxed on and on about leaves, and how important they are for...

Mystery Plant! #754

Mystery Plant! #754 John Nelson Posted 12/20/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comAs of the writing of this essay it is not quite winter, at least on the calendar, but it’s cold, for me anyway. No more flowers to enjoy…well, not that many. Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons for taking a walk in...

Mystery Plant! #753

Mystery Plant! #753 John Nelson Posted 12/13/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWhen I was a kid, our family would make an annual summer trip to visit relatives in Hanover, Virginia. This was before interstate highways, and well before air-conditioning in the car, so we'd always leave early in the morning, well before dawn....

Mystery Plant! #750

Mystery Plant! #750 John Nelson Posted 11/22/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comAn oak tree is just an acorn’s way of making more acorns.                                                            --an old sayingAll of the 400 or so species of oaks in the world belong to the genus Quercus, and North Americans are blessed with about 100 of them. You...

Mystery Plant! #747

Mystery Plant! #747 John Nelson Posted 11/1/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comI knew it would happen: it’s gotten cold here in central South Carolina, definitely sweater-weather, at least on these brilliant, clear mornings. I managed to get in one more botany field trip last week just before it got chilly. You might say...

Mystery Plant! #742

Mystery Plant! #742 John Nelson Posted 9/27/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comI am sad to say that one of my best friends and botany buddies died last year. Steve W. Leonard was a Tarheel from Davidson County NC, graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with his bachelor’s and later master’s degree (in 1973) in botany....

Mystery Plant! #740

Mystery Plant! #740 John Nelson Posted 9/13/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comMy plan yesterday was to get up early and prepare for a field trip with one of my former students. It was to be something of a “busman’s holiday”, as we wanted to botanize somewhere, and it didn’t really matter where, as...