Saturday, October 7, 2017

Flower clock

A mechanical metaphor…
Herbalist: Tokeisou (時計草). Clock flower.
Botanist: You mean flower clock?
Time to wake up...
Herbalist: A passiflora caruelea… it looks like a clock.
Botanist: Sorry. I was thinking of Linnaeus. He used the term Horologium flora or “flower clock” to mean flowers that opened in the morning and closed the afternoon or evening.
Herbalist: So you wouldn’t need a mechanical clock. Just go to the garden to know the time.
Botanist: Not dependable though. Problems of season, weather, and animals that would eat the flowers.

Linnaeus proposed a garden of flowers that would tell time in his Philosophia Botanica. For example, Hawkweed (Hieracium umbellatum) that would open at 5 AM and close at 6 PM. White waterlily (Nymphaeum alba) that would open at 7 AM, Ice plant (Cryophytum nodiflorum) at 10 AM, Day lily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) that would close at 10 PM.

No comments: