Thursday, January 17, 2008


I love this story, especially as it's not just a new species but a new genus, and the tree's so big you can see it in satellite photos - and yet nobody had spotted it. Talking of palms - there's always this. Beautiful, and true.


  1. As I read the post and then the first link I started thinking of Stevens's line, "The palm at the end of the mind."
    I click on the second link and - lo and behold!
    Thanks, Nige.

  2. It claimed on Today, that this palm only flowers once and when it does it dies... a tragic and moving story..

  3. Nige, the poem was a perfect complement to the news story ..... thanks for sharing both.

  4. I agree, Nige. Though I'm amazed that palm has survived at all: Flowering kills it??? My horticulturalist neighbor has a plant called a "corpse flower." Once a year it blooms and it's disgusting -- reeks. It, too, is a wonder of nature, though I'd rather avoid it. Ditto gingko blossoms.

  5. Thanks, yet again, Nige.

    One tree, one hundred years, and survives.
    One tree, or have we not found the family.

    Anyhow Nige, Butterflies. Not having seen any for months -and feeling short changed - drives me into thought.
    Nomenclature- Homer has the flies swarming to the milk, but no mention of butter. So why the name.

  6. Ah Vince - a good question. I like to think that it's after the butter-yellow Brimstone, which is often the first butterfly of the year to be seen (or used to be before the Red Admiral took over - the RA was sighted on every single day of 2006!). The Brimstone is/was also likely to be the last seen, being a hibernator. Not sure if this is sound etymology...

  7. That etymology is correct. I read it in a great essay by Anne Fadiman in her collection, "At Large and At Small." You would love it, Nige. In fact, you'd love all the essays in there.