Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nurses and Eliasomes

Last night, the in-laws, Sweetie and I drove to see a young relative of ours go through Her pinning ceremony for Nursing School.

We heard a great speech that perfectly explained to us non-nurses what these students have gone through to obtain their degree.

This morning, I will head outside and plant the dozen bloodroot (sanguinara canadensis)seeds that I harvested yesterday from the little plants that I started from a root a few years ago.

C. loves nursing and She will be a fine one. Her personality is perfectly adapted to the work that will be required of Her.

So it is with nature, too: each species adapts to a particular niche and fills it perfectly.

Bloodroot is an ephemereal. That means it pops up briefly in the spring, absorbing the early sunlight of the forest before the trees leaf out. This is a niche in time and place that most other plant species don't exploit.

The seed includes an odd little white tail that looks like a little worm. It's called an eliasome. To an ant, crawling about the leaf litter in May, the eliasome is a gift from heaven, an anty Dunkin Donut that it is quite happy to haul away home, with the seed included. Thus the seed is assured locomotion to a new place and proper burial.

One cannot simply dry this seed and then plant it any old time or place, like carrots or beans. One has to be mindful of the specific conditions to which the plant is adapted: moist, cool soil, with a minimum of sunlight.

So I must sow today, before the seeds dry out, in a place where they will not be disturbed during the long summer months. Only in the fall will they finally awaken and only in the spring will I see the plants emerging from the soil.

This is what they look like:


Janice Thomson said...

Look forward to seeing the photos. Have you seen the double petaled kind? They almost look like hepaticas. Bloodroot is such a beautiful plant - the flower so pure in its whiteness.

the walking man said...

get your hands dirty ECD. that is a balm as well.


Janice Thomson said...

The seeds are very different. Thanks for showing them. I have not seen them before.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Walking Man: My hands? When I get working outside, ALL of me gets dirty. Sweetie makes me take a shower of sorts with the hose and leave my clothes (She calls them my grubbies) in the shed before I cross the threshold of the house. (Decency laws require that I keep a bathrobe or a change of clothes handy in the aforementioned shed.)

Janice: Apparently these seeds have a limited and finicky viability period and have to stay wet, or I'd gladly send you a couple to sprout in Your own arborial paradise.

Lizzy Dizzy said...

WOW the seeds are like ones I have never seen before and I live with a bunch of gardeners... I had a project for my engineer class making a house and I got a 90% (A) on the house on of the best I have done the highest I have gotten before was a 100% so its no big deal!!

Eastcoastdweller said...

Lizzie: Yeah, they are some strange-looking seeds. Bloodroot is in the poppy family, which has some odd characteristics.

A 90 or a 100 on an assignment is always a big deal. Congratulations!