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Re: The Fascination of Araceae

In a message dated 6/14/99, 8:03:53 PM, aroid-l@mobot.org writes:
<<     This list seems pretty pragmatic most of the
time.  I'll be audacious this once and throw some
ideas out here that I don't see shared much
anywhere-as a stimulant to response, and further,
deeper interaction...
     What is it that fascinates about these plants?
     How did you first become interested in them?

My first interest in aroids occurred when, after seeing pictures of 
Jack-in-the-pulpit, I finally came across one in real life, in swampy woods 
in Tiverton, Rhode Island.  What fascinates me about them is the uniqueness 
of the inflorescence--no other class of plant I knew growing up had the 
spadix-and-spathe arrangement.  (I have since seen cyclanthaceae 
inflorescences, which are the closest I am aware of, but that was many years 
later.)  The amount of variation on the same basic theme fires the 

      Let me restate the big question--to the human
spirit, what do these plants mean?   What is the
Earth/Gaia/God/Goddess trying to tell us through them,
if anything?

Interesting question.  I do not believe that God is necessarily trying to say 
anything with them, anymore than through any other type of plant; however, 
they do arouse in me feelings of primal energy.  I am not sure I believe in a 
collective unconscious, but if there is such a thing, perhaps my feelings are 
echoes of distant pagan ancestors in the mists of time--those bygone people 
were strange and mysterious, just as aroids are.  Also, aroids appeal to my 
primitive side--their shapes and odors
are often "uncivilized," symbolizing freedom from all the stupid hangups of 
society.  Society is inherently circumscribed; only in wildness is there 
freedom--at least, that is what my imagination tells me.

     <<Part of it might be what the world may lose if
the current extinction spasm continues.  How many
Anthuriums and others have already been lost as the
great burning of South America goes forward?
        Do other people out there relate to any of
this?  Can plants not only titillate, fascinate, and
enchant us but also act as channels, visions of glory,
great positive energy which; can crack open and
enlighten the unenlightened and change the human
spirit irrevocably for the better.

Makes sense to me.  People who dismiss or ignore plants, I find, will often 
be insensitive in other ways, too.

Jason Hernandez

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