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Article: Grow plants that give glowing health: Fact-checking Fail

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Mishal
Caguas
Puerto Rico

October 11, 2009
4:00 PM

Post #7157682

QUOTE:

Just an example: Calvaria major disappeared because indiscriminate hunting washed out all the dodos, the only bird that dispersed its seeds. It was in interesting read here.


The Calvari major is not extinct, it is a rare tree, but it isn't gone. I have Richard Ellis' book, No Turning Back (2004), and quote, pp. 164. :

"... Because there were no more dodos around to help the trees germinate, the Calvaria -now known colloquially as the "dodo tree"- was en route to extinction, a powerful example of the unexpected connections that can be drawn between living things -or living and extinct things. The trees were saved when it was discovered that the same effect could be accomplished by feeding the pits to turkeys. New seedlings have germinated, and the species appears to have been saved, though the seedlings have not yet produced seeds of their own. The dodo tree is valued on Mauritius for its timber, so the foresters now scrape the pits by hand in order to get them sprout, rather than feed them to turkeys."

Even if you didn't have Ellis' book on the shelf right outside your office like I do, this could've also been easily checked by a google search, which turns up these references on the preservation of C. major (now Sideroxylon grandiflorum):

The Turkey and the Tambalacoque Tree (November 18, 1992)
http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF11/1110.html

The Widespread Misconception that the Tambalacoque or Calvaria Tree Absolutely Required the Dodo Bird for its Seeds to Germinate (2004)
http://www.botany.org/PlantScienceBulletin/psb-2004-50-4.php#Dodo

Or, you could've read to the bottom of the article you linked, where it said in a footnote:

"Today the Calvaria major seeds are encouraged to germinate by being fed to turkeys or by turning them in a gemstone polisher. This, it is hoped, may help preserve the rare trees for future generations to enjoy."


You have a lovely article, and it introduces some plenty of plants I'd never heard of before, and I did greatly enjoy it for the information given, but come on... that dodo tree line was an easy error to catch.

Dinu

Dinu
Mysore
India
(Zone 10a)

October 12, 2009
7:16 AM

Post #7160266

Mishal,

I checked on the links you have provided after noticing the error. I hang my head low. I now learn a lesson. You have thrown some good light in both perspectives. My search on that tree was not full as I was focussing on its image. I also did not go in to its common name which could have taken me where you have taken. Perhaps I thought at that time that it was only an example to cite and not the main subject, I did not do a deeper search. I accept the faux pas. Your pointing me this will stand me in good stead for the future and I thank you for the same. And I'm glad you liked the main subject. Thanks for the appreciation.

Dinu
Mishal
Caguas
Puerto Rico

October 13, 2009
1:12 AM

Post #7163095

It's fine, I loved the article regardless (and I'm always a little suspect of sources that could actually have an agenda in spreading half-information, like the original source does). It's so hard to find cultural knowledge without a Western-slant to it, so I really loved the information about holy basil. I'll also be looking forward to/hoping that you'll be writing up an article about those Zodiac-sign plants next.

I do have a question about one plant though, I have henna (Lawsonia), sprouted from seed. So far, the seedlings are doing well, but it's been rather wet here all of a sudden. Might you know if henna is tolerant of being a little damp so long as it stays warm, or does it absolutely require dry conditions?

I'm afraid all the information I find relating to wet weather patterns in India inevitably is about the monsoon and sadly, little else.

Dinu

Dinu
Mysore
India
(Zone 10a)

October 13, 2009
4:32 AM

Post #7163738

Hi Mishal,

I agree with you. We have reached the stage where we are dependent on the internet for information sources. Reliability becomes the question. We take it for granted they are correct. It will become our bounden duty to post up verified facts. (I'll add the links you provided me above into the article and rectify it even though already many people have seen it) There comes the limit because many of us will not 'know all'. Our experience has limits and we have to depend on it most of the time or we have to consider what we have observed at other places other than at our own gardens.

There are different conditions in India itself. There are the hills and the plains. There are coastal areas with high humidity and temperature. There are hot and dry areas. In the western ghats we have the cold and humid places... it is so diversified. Plants brought down from the hills wont do well in the plains. As for Lawsonia, we had a plant many years ago and it was a volunteer (I don't know how it came there into our yard as the only plant) that grew under a mango tree where there was water always because it was the washing area and the water was let out into the soil. It was doing well but that was the time when I was not into gardening and was quite young. Now that you brought it up, my memory jogged back to that plant there. I bought one a few years back but someone stole it!



This message was edited Oct 13, 2009 9:33 AM
Mishal
Caguas
Puerto Rico

October 15, 2009
5:43 PM

Post #7172242

Yeah, I agree, it's always been important to cite respectable, true sources, but now it's getting hard to find full, honest information. And now that in some places, the Internet's become the main source of information, instead of books...

Anyway, it's cool. I was just afraid, at first, that you really did think they were extinct and were ready to fight on it. Hence the deluge of links and quoted text. Sorry if it gave you a startle.


So, Lawsonia, they seem fine with being a bit damp, thanks for the help. Sorry to hear your plant got stolen. Hmm... the batch I have were pretty fast to sprout and seem to be growing fast and happy. When they set seed (heh, whenever that is), I'll send you some. *wink*

Dinu

Dinu
Mysore
India
(Zone 10a)

October 16, 2009
2:19 AM

Post #7174042

Yea, thanks Mishal. We all keep learning and we have to have our minds open. My DW is trying to get one Lawsonia in some nursery because we can use the leaves as a paste to decorate my daughters' hands occasionally. It is also a coolant.

I wish you all the luck with your Lawsonias. No wink!!

Dinu

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Other Article: Grow plants that give glowing health Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
As always good information LouC 5 Oct 12, 2009 3:10 PM
namaskar... pejiduta8 7 Oct 14, 2009 3:18 PM
good to see you in the writers' spot. gloria125 1 Oct 11, 2009 4:14 PM
Very nice intro garden_mermaid 1 Oct 12, 2009 6:45 AM
Thank you! Kylaluaz 2 Oct 13, 2009 1:31 AM


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