Sunday, May 5, 2019

Plant Blindness and Fringe Tree

                                             Fringe Tree- (A Native Tree!) At the Monastery, Conyers, GA.

Plant blindness?  This term was coined in 1998 by a couple of American botanists, James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler. What does it mean? In the simplest of terms, it means that we just don't seem to notice plants! Our brains, you see, just tend to lump them all together into one great blob of green and we have lost the ability to appreciate not only the beauty of them but also the importance of them.

I read about this in a BBC article.  You may read it just here.
Please read it! It is fascinating!  You will be tested on it at a later date, just so you know.

Oddly enough on the very day that I read this article, one of my co-workers brought his children to see me.  The baby girl came straight into my arms. (This surprised the parents, they told me she very rarely does this. Babies love me!) The little boy...I showed him the photos of flowers on my calendar.  His Dad said that he doubted as an adult that he could name that many flowers! (Plant blindness!) The little boy told me that they had blueberries beginning to grow and that HE was going to make medicine from them.  "That's right", I told him, "a lot of medicines are made from plants and flowers.  So...
when I read this BBC article, I now know that there are more than 28,000 plant species that are used for medicine.

Once again, on this very same day...I came home and brought my mail into the house.  All at once, I had a sharp pain on the side of my arm...I looked down and my arm was beginning to get red. Thinking I had gotten bitten by an insect, I didn't think much of it but as the evening wore on, and there was this unbearable kind of itch, I knew that I had somehow made the acquaintance of poison ivy.   My friends, I have managed to live all these years in Georgia and this is the first time that I have been so afflicted.  The interesting was Wednesday when it suddenly "came out" and I could only have been exposed to it during the weekend before! I looked up photos of poison ivy rash and trust me, they look very scary. Mine is really not that bad, it is that I am such a big baby! (That must be why babies like me.)  I have it on my right arm, my left thumb and on the side of neck. How in the world? The plant has Poison ivy...leaves of three...let it be!  That is the little rhyme that you must remember.  But wait, I MIGHT have gotten into some Poison OAK!  Oh dear, I will have to fight against this plant blindness.  It can be very dangerous!

At the beginning of this post, I showed you a fringe tree that is planted near the entrance at the Monastery in a most formal landscaped setting...but the fringe tree also grows at Arabia Mountain and it is not maintained or trimmed by anyone! The blooms are so lovely that I think that those who design bridal gowns should mimic those blooms on a dress!

Hope you are all are well and enjoying the beauty around you.
Don't have plant blindness! 


  1. I love seeing all my plants and flowers appear in the Spring. Long winters will make you unblind to plants! Jack already had a run in with poison ivy. I don't react much to it...just a few spots. However, a few years ago on a December morning I picked up a branch in our driveway and didn't notice it had a vine on looked dead. I had the worse case of poison "something"...ivy or my life. Steroids were the only cure as it was near my eyes. Now I'm very aware of anything growing on dead branches! I hope you ivy rash is gone soon!

  2. Plants do not like me much, i am not good at growing them, but i am very good at admiring them!

  3. Hi Kay - our plants are beautiful, as too the ones that can hurt - which somehow we need to be aware of. The UN today are issuing a report on the many hundreds and thousands of species of plants and animals that are facing extinction ... they need all the help they can get. I hope the rash has subsided by now ... take care and I agree the tree is just lovely - cheers Hilary

  4. Names? Plants are green, red, blue or white, that's all i know about names...

  5. I don't have plant blindness. I might be blind to almost everything else, but not plants. Especially not this time of year! I hope your poison ivy or oak clears up soon. A doctor can prescribe something to make it not so distressing, but calamine lotion or even a paste of baking soda might also help. A friend of mine was burning weeds once (long ago when this was allowed) and poison ivy was in the mix and she inhaled the smoke can got a terrible bout of internal poison ivy which I'd never even known was a possibility.

  6. My grandfather was terribly allergic to poison ivy. In the summer the poor man would be out in the fields wearing long sleeves, gloves, and other clothing to prevent exposure.

  7. I wonder if it is because most people live in cities now. A related thing I've thought about is that songs that used to be about the moon and apple blossoms and roses may not be written because people don't see the moon or stars because of city lights, and don't have easy access to see flowers and trees. But what do I know?!

  8. Very interesting article. I was just thinking the other day about poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac etc and wondering why the USA has so many. Must be all the extra animals that eat plants over there is all I could think of, to put them off munching. I've never had plant blindness but I know folk that cant see anything- like tiny beetles, tiny flowers etc because they have no interest so they are invisible to them whereas I love going micro and studying life up close on one small branch or tiny pond.

  9. The fringe tree is lovely. I'm so sorry that you encountered poison ivy. I am not plant blind. I find plants fascinating, and I'm always curious about plants. We landed in England a few years back and I saw all these glorious, blooming hedgerows from the plane and then from the train. A day or two later Terry and I went to Devil's Dyke on the Downs near Brighton. The hedgerows were blooming everywhere. I didn't know what the plant was, so I asked around in the pub and restaurant. No one knew. "They're just a plant," a bartender told me. I was flabbergasted. You know how many hedgerows are in England! Well, I did not go to bed until I had gotten my computer out and tracked that plant down. It was hawthorn! I briefly considered majoring in botany, but I fell for rocks instead.

    1. btw, the plant article was interesting, but sad. I understand why people are drawn to animals more, but it's hard to imagine that they wouldn't be curious about the plants around them. I used to have great fun teaching my kiddos about plants and fungi. Tolkien was known for being a tree lover, but when you read his books you know that he loved all kinds of plants, and Sam, a pivotal character, was a gardener.