A plant pundit comments on plants, gardening, academic life, and life in general.
The Phytophactor's Latest Posts
The release of the summary of the torture report more or less tells us something most people already knew, so it's hard to know how to respond or comment. Only a real Pollyanna would think the USA doesn't have numerous secret closets filled with dirty-dealing skeletons. The only real surprise was that this report acknowledges as much of the dirty dealings as it does. Even still it won't make a big impression on the "USA is number 1" crowd; us cynics weren't disappointed, again. Everyone […]
Far out, man! In this nifty little article about Amanita muscari, the fly agaric, a spectacular mushroom, they suggest a story that TPP had never heard before. Now any botanist who knows their humanistic botany knows that this mushroom is a well known hallucinogen and toxic enough to scare the pants off this botanist. Yikes, don't try this mushroom at home folks, it could be your last trip. Siberian shamen were known to favor living in groves of birch trees, trees of life in some cultures, […]
TPP has long joked about living in the maize and soybean desert of the upper midwest. Sadly this does a grave injustice to deserts because even the harshest desert has more biodiversity than our agricultural fields. 200 years ago this was tall grass prairie which has a surprising and substantial biodiversity and this same grassland community built some of the richest soil in the world. Here in Lincolnland the tall grass prairie is all but gone, less than 1% remains, and it was […]
Well, good old Bobcat Bill got his bobcat hunting bill (HB4226) through both houses of the Lincolnland legislature without even considering or allowing biological or ecological testimony. Here's a little background on this purely stupid action. Bobcat hunting was banned in Illinois in 1972 after the species became threatened. Bobcat populations have recovered in several counties - a recent SIU study found significant recovery in 17 counties in Southern Lincolnland, but there is no data to […]
OK, let's get some things clear, by definition if necessary. So a lot of plant experiments, especially those done in glass houses in pots require a growth medium for the plants. While mixing up a batch for some 240 pots, a security person on rounds came by and said, "So are you mixing up some dirt?" Our stock answer followed, "No, dirt is something you find under your finger nails and in certain types of books and movies." "We're mixing up some soil." This does mean that mixing […]
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