31 July 2007

The miracle of life

arum italicum berries
Honestly, I'm ambivalent at best on the arums, but as long as we're on the topic...

Everyday I see a "bed" of "landscaping" that consists of Ivy and trash (if that's not redundant). The Ivy is cut back maybe 3 times a year. But this hideous wasteland in fact harbors surprising biodiversity, not even counting the rats. Some kind of nightshady weed occasionally pokes its menacing berries through the groundcover, along with some brave, i.e. terrifyingly weedy, bindweed. But the interesting part is a stand of Arum italicum that has happily naturalized in this harsh environment. I can't tell if they were planted intentionally or not.

Last week I was staring at these ridiculous berries and contemplating the miracle of evolution: not only that such appealing things are produced from such a sinister plant, but the complicated and bizarre flowering apparatus that produced them (see the Dranunculus above [below]).

Anyway, I was wondering whether these berries are really appealing, or just bizarre, when some slack-jawed kid walked by and snapped off a stalk. Whether he carried it off as a gift for an unfortunate paramour, or simply as a distraction from his habitual stupefaction, no one can say. But is was a humbling example of natural selection in action.

And that is why I don't know if these arums were planted on purpose or not.

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Blogger bs said...

excellent, natural selection in action!

8/02/2007 12:11 AM  

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