A few links about plant science, human sex, and what we can learn from trees

Iris CloseupLet’s Talk about Plant Sex
In this podcast from the Newberry Library, Katie Sagal tells how women writers in the 18th century engaged with botany, which was considered both an activity for cultivating feminine virtue and a weedy thicket overrun by the perils of intellectual rigor and plant sexual reproduction.

Ten Plants Used to Spice up Sex
Speaking of sex, Botany One lists ten possible human aphrodisiacs. Many things seem to work on rats, but we know less about their effect on humans. And then there’s the bonus eleventh plant that might work for you — but only as a gambit.

Learning to Speak Shrub
Plants do talk about sex, but as this article in Nautilus says, more often they use molecular codes to cry for help, ward off bugs, and save each other.

The World’s Shiniest Fruit
Just for fun, here’s a couple of photos of the fruit of the African plant Pollia condensata and an explanation about why it’s so shiny.

Hermann Hesse on What Trees Teach Us About Belonging and Life
This beautifully poetic passage speaks about trust and happiness. “So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours.”

An Enduring Literary Classic
Finally, this Wondermark cartoon jokes about how slowly plants grow. Slow plants is one of the reasons why the novel Semiosis is structured in chapters that sometimes jump a generation ahead. I tweaked the vegetation on Pax as much as I felt I reasonably could to speed it up, but plants are naturally slow beings. They needed time to react to the new arrivals, and I had to think of a way to build that time into the narrative. I decided to skip ahead a couple of decades between chapters and try to tell compelling stories within that framework.

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