Friday, August 15, 2008

100 Species Challenge (I do claim to love botany)

I'm participating in the 100 Species Challenge. Here's how it works:

1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge. I will make a sidebar list of anyone who notifies me that they are participating in the Challenge.

2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant’s home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.

3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears. My format will be as follows: the numbered list, with plants making their first appearance on the list in bold; each plant making its first appearance will then have a photograph taken by me, where possible, a list of information I already knew about the plant, and a list of information I learned subsequent to starting this challenge, and a list of information I’d like to know. (See below for an example.) This format is not obligatory, however, and participants can adapt this portion of the challenge to their needs and desires.

4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts. This can be done either by tagging these posts, by ending every post on the challenge with a link to your previous post on the challenge, or by some method which surpasses my technological ability and creativity.

5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.

6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g., camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two–”camillia” if not).

7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge. You can make it as quick or as detailed a project as you like. I’m planning to blog a minimum of two plants per week, complete with pictures and descriptions as below, which could take me up to a year. But you can do it in whatever level of detail you like.

Et je commence. Here are my first entries. I'm starting with two right away because I meant to start this earlier, but got too busy with something else.

1. Mimosa pudica

It's the one with the pink pompom-like flowers. We call it "Makahiya" in Filipino or "Shy Grass" in English. However, when I googled it, I found out from Wikipedia that it also goes by the following names: sensitive plant, humble plant, shameplant, sleeping grass, and touch-me-not. It's a very entertaining plant for its reactive movement: it closes when you touch it or shake it. The breeze or any other source of vibration (sometimes even loud sounds) can make the leaves close up too. They are everywhere here. Filipinos trample them without a second thought because they're considered as weeds.
They're very hardy and can withstand the trampling though. It was interesting to learn from one of my Korean students that they are sold rather expensively in Korea and other countries as well. The plant has herbal properties and medicinal purposes. It can be boiled into a sort of tea to relieve asthma attacks (I know this first hand), but it is also used as a diuretic and alterant.

2. Lantana

We found this growing wild up in the mountains, thanks probably to birds or insects that had distributed them. I don't think they're native to the Philippines, but they're everywhere. They come in various colors as well. I got some for the garden once, but they're kind of a thug and take over everything. They proliferate rather effusively and since our garden space was small, they had to go. It's interesting to note how the color of the flowers change as they mature. I read somewhere that they're supposed to bear berries, but I have yet to see one. The plant leaves could also be poisonous to some animals although the fruit is edible when ripe. The wood of the plant is also useful for wickerwork.


Sarah said...

Oh, thank you for joining in the Challenge!!! I can't wait to see all the species you post--it'll be so neat to see contributions from so far away!!!

Your photography is just lovely.

spinninglovelydays said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sarah. I'm very excited about the challenge. Love reading the other posts.
Btw, photography credits go to my husband.:)