Archive for the ‘Botany’ Category

Vera Lutter’s Hibiscus portraits



The hibiscus pistil and stamen on cotton gauze

After Samar Hussein, 2003-2009

In her series, “Samar Hussein”, the photographer Vera Lutter remembers the civilian deaths caused from the Iraq war from a 2003 till 2007. Samar Hussein was the first war casualty. The portraits of the hibiscus flower’s cycle is to commemorate her untimely demise.

I had an intone of flops over these portraits. Can art release their wondering?

Coolie tamarind – Averrhoa carambola

The tropical Five finger fruit fromTrinidad and Tobago, West Indies

The five finger or carambola named may have been derived by the natural shape of the fruit. The five wedged shape brings the thought of mathematics, geometry and the parabola. The Five finger when ripe is quite sweet and has a watery consistency of a pineapple, but with a slight tartness to it.

A parabola is called a locus of points, equidistant from the given point  F , called a focus of parabola, and the given straight line, not going through this point and called a directrix of parabola.

Why wonder of the world you ask?

wonder of the world plant- Bryophyllum pinnatum.

If readers have noticed thebookmann shift to the title, wonder of the world, the reasoning is its resilience which the plant’s name is derived from.  It can survive anywhere without not much to sustain it.

Every West Indian child should remember putting a leaf between the pages of their copybook. Overtime, the plant would begin to spring roots from the sides of the leaf. Known in Trinidad and Tobago as the wonder of the world , one of the many medicinal properties it contains is the power to strengthen the heart by purifying the blood.

Hoytee-toytee-Horticultural Society-Veneer


Beauty short lived – Decorative Banana

Buyers of flowers in Trinidad and Tobago can represent the class. At the Horticultural Society, there are freshly cut local flowers with names such as Ginger, Sexy Pink or Decorative Banana. Customers come in and gingerly walk about, stooping, finessing and inspecting bunches of flowers as they decide which are best. Later these flowers are set in vases at Art openings or Dinners and speak of taste and upbringing. For others, they reflect a short lived pretence.


The Horticultural Society, Port of Spain



Torches and detail of the Ginger cone


The Hoytee-toytee absent at these Plastic Flower shops in Port of Spain

Yet the shops on Charlotte Street, in particular you can find flowers of all blooms and varieties placed in plastic buckets facing the street. The people who buy these flowers have no presence, no role to play in high society and simply do not care. They just like them. But with their counterpart at the Horticultural Society, they too stoop, finesse and inspect bunches of flowers. Across this land, plastic flowers are popular as ornate setting in every living room corner. False and fake they can look realistically enough to brighten up a room with an everlasting bloom. – thebookmann


Synthetics and Aesthetics, Charlotte Street, Port of Spain

Flowers of Trinidad and Tobago-impossible to clone

Caribbean Flowers Series – Plumbago

Watch meh but don’t pick meh

This is the delicate flower from the Plumbago plant, a name more suitable for a Caribbean fruit but nevertheless it is a scrub that has its charm and beauty by the flower’s elongated tube stem.

If your brush against the plant, the sepal tends to stick on you. The defense against predictors including those who are willing to pick a few for a wedding photo shoot at the President’s Grounds is that the Plumbago withers quite quickly.

The name Plumbago is derived from Latin meaning Lead, the plant has the healing properties of curing lead poisoning.

Caribbean Flowers Series – Thyme

The Courage Plant

We West Indians love to marinate our meats well. Salt and pepper just isn’t enough to satisfy our culinary taste. To do this we like to combine a variety of home-grown herbs to make a concoction called green seasoning. Thyme is one of the ingredients and it is a plant that needs less care to cultivate. Like chive you just have to put it in a pot filled with soil and it would spring to life.

This is English thyme which has a stronger aromatic smell to the finer Spanish variety grown in Trinidad and Tobago. The oils from the plant is known to treat melancholy.

Caribbean Flowers Series – Aloe vera

The Beauty or Miracle Plant

In Trinidad and Tobago, the Aloe plant can be found in many gardens. Your Grandmother, Aunt or Tanti will have a cluster of Aloes ready to sooth the bruise you got while trying to pick plumes in her backyard. Older people have more common sense than younger people who would run to the hospital. A common sense pays more than book sense, to them, Aloes is the cure for almost anything.

The gel from the plant has a bitter taste to it, but the beneficial properties are to give your belly a good clean-out.

Below: The flower of the plant are a light yellow and the stem extends from the core of the plant ans is about 2′ in length.

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