Thursday, October 12, 2017

Milkweed


Milkweed is the host plant for Monarchs. The butterflies lay their eggs on the the plant and the caterpillars eat the leaves. Seems like most people know that. 

But did you know that the scientific name of this plant is Asclepias curassavica? And it was named after the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius. This plant has been used for "what ails you" for thousands of years. Intestinal parasites? Got it. Warts? Got it. Syphilis? Got it. And the list goes on. 

So, since it was named after a god, I consider it a sacred plant. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pomegranate--Another Sacred Plant

In Greek mythology, the pomegranate is a symbol of the underworld. It grew from the blood of Adonis, god of beauty and desire. 

Most people have heard the story of Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus. When she was out picking flowers, Hades came up from the underworld and stole her away. She was probably picking flowers in a botanical garden, which we all know is SO WRONG! Don't pick anything in a botanical garden! The pic was taken in the herb garden. at the UC Botanical Garden.

Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, grain, and fertility was sad and angry. She used her power to cause famine. Zeus decided to use his power to get his daughter back on earth. Here is where the pomegranate, food of the underworld, comes into play. Persephone ate pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, so she was obligated to stay. The gods and goddesses worked out a compromise and Persephone was forced to stay in the underworld part of the year. During that part of the year, winter arrives on earth. 

So we can thank the gods and goddesses for the seasons. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Growing Pipevine from Seed


So, it takes about a year. In June, cover the Aristolochia californica fruits so that the wasps don't eat the seeds. When the fruits split open, near the end of summer, take out the seeds and plant them. They sprout in January or so. And by June, the seedlings are looking good. My bags are now in place for the next crop.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tortoiseshells


For years, I have seen Tortoiseshells at the UC Botanical Garden in March. I have looked for the offspring, but have never found any. Until today!

Today, someone told me that they had found Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars on some ceanothus. I believed that they had seen caterpillars, but Pipevine Swallowtails on Ceanothus? Not likely. But she was able to tell me where so that I could find them. I am calling these Tortoiseshells. I only saw them on one spot on one bush, but there are probably others in the Garden. I will have to keep looking!
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