In Kindergarten, my teacher revealed to us that the world’s largest living thing was a tree. Mind blown. That was the first time I learned that plants are alive.
I look at the trees that are 700 years old, and I think “man, standing there not being able to move… for 700 years… you must be bored to tears!”, and then I think of the wee critters and how they only live for a few days, and I think “man, it must suck to know you are going to die tomorrow…”
And then I remember, they are not self aware in the same context as we are…
and then I look at the rocks…
“hmmm… are those trees REALLY the largest living thing?”
Depends on your definition of ‘thing’ I think. I seem to remember, but have not looked it up that the largest living thing on Earth is either:
- a forest of I think aspen trees in Utah that are all clones of each other, so defined as a single organism by some folks
- a giant fungus in Oregon, Honey Mushrooms I think.
…or are we all the kindy kids about to get our minds blown!
It always annoys me when a movie character looks at a plant covered landscape and says there is no sign of life.
Maybe it is also TV’s fault. If they broadcast a documentary, it is 99% focused on animals while series dedicated to plant are so few.
Here if you show to “common” people a plant, maybe a rare or o very rare one, they often ask you “ok, it’s rare but what’s use?” and then, after you reply that there are no known use, they turn away…
I have a heavily planted 1 acre yard. I am getting estimates for a new roof for the house. One roofer, says “wow you have a lot of property, what do you do with it?” I said, well you can see I have a lot of plants and his response is “oh”.
We had a flourishing indigenous garden including the original protea bushes which we cherished. So - when are you going to start a garden and put in the lawn - someone asked to my dumbstruck horror.
I think the main reason for this is that video/film is a motion-based medium, and time lapses are the best way to make capture plants in motion. Until recently, doing time lapses was very expensive and difficult (eg shooting lots of photos on film, rather than digitally, then turning them into footage). BBC does a ton of great time lapses now for both plants and fungi.
I think the “echo chamber” is to blame a bit, as well. Audiences prefer to watch animals, so TV provides more animal content, which in turn makes audiences be more interested in animals, rather than plants.
Yes, I had the chance to watch a series from BBC on plants and it was fantastic.
When I used to live in Mexico City, I often met people with some kind of “native plant blindness” For example, our neighbors did care a lot of common dandelions, they even gave water to them. They didn’t know nothing about native mexican plants that still grow in Mexico City. At the beginning it was very difficult for me to find information about native plants in Mexico City.
This is so real. Each of my parents (who live in different states) sent me pictures of a “weed” to ID in their yard this last week. In both cases, the plant was native.
and did the two ‘weeds’ survive?
As far as I know, yes. I’d like to think I’ve been successful in convincing them that growing natives has its advantages.
In the case we could open a new thread “why are some people blind to wild plants?”.
Has anyone noticed that there are people who are attracted only by ornamental plants? Is it only because ornamental plants are easier to be seen in urban areas and/or because they are supposed to be more “attractive”.
Is the interest in ornamental plants a “real” interest in plants?
It is a first step, a learning curve. I only discovered fynbos as a botany student. Still … discovering fynbos, on weekly hikes, and here on iNat.
The first thing I did when I got the iNaturalist app was look around and realize I had no idea what any of the local plants were that I’d grown up around almost my whole life! So I try and make sure to add them as observations whenever possible. I like to go through the Unknown observations too, to try and learn more about plant ID. It’s just not as easy for me as animals unfortunately, but I’d like to change that.
The humungous fungus in Michigan and Wisconsin?
Right now I’m on a mushroom kick (it’s that time of year where I live), but I always try to include the plant that a mushroom is growing on, is possibly mycorrhizal with, etc. Same with insects – if they are on a plant, I like to include the plant ID to the best of my knowledge, as well. But it’s unclear to me which fields are best to use for these purposes, as there are several that deal with plant/fungus or plant/insect interactions, and it’s not clear to me whether the plants mentioned in the fields added to observations ever get IDed separately or added to the machine learning database. I’m pretty new to iNaturalist so this info may be in the FAQ or forums somewhere that I haven’t seen yet, but it looks to me at this stage that photos that have more than one organism in them tend to be labelled as the one that moves/more ephemeral one, i.e. the plants tend not to get identified. There may be a way to get around this if more than one ID can be given equal weight per photo, but I’m not sure whether the system is set up to allow for this to be done.