Saturday, November 10, 2007

Industrial Ghosts and Flowering Plants

Two stories in the news here that are both related to past Industrys. The Coal industry in Scotland, and a former Clay Quarry in Cornwall.
The first was a new finding of a rare Orchid on a disused coal mining site in Scotland. the funky named Epipactis Youngiana (I prefer Youngs Helleborine which is easier to say).

The top photo is taken from google images, the Orchids yellow bell shaped flowers found in Scotland... I love the fact we have wild orchids growing here in Britain.
This particular Orchid has only been found to grow on land formally used in heavy Industry. The Scottish land it was discovered on was a coal mine untill 1980.
The problem is these land polluting industrys where this orchid has been found growing, are no longer in existence. If this is this orchids preferred environment how do you maintain it?
By keeping the land polluted with heavy metals in the soil?
Most of these former industrial sites are not protected, and several have been developed, eliminating the Orchids that grew there. The botanists took seeds from this flowering one, so hopefully somebody from the Hardy Orchid society will be able to grow this plant so it does not dissapear from Britain.
If the orchid did not adapt to the changing conditions it would die out though, by selection pressure (Darwin again).
The second story is a corpse flower is almost flowering at the Eden Project in Cornwall. I remember when one flowered at the New York botanical gardens.
For a malodorous flower it makes headlines wherever it flowers!
I still want to go to the Eden project to see the Huge Biomes (Round domes) built on a former clay quarry, with seperate plant environments in each one. It says they have 1000,000 plants representing 5000 species from the worlds climatic zones.
How cool that somebody thought why dont we build a garden on a flooded scooped out clay pit? The project was a successful millenium project, and is in the top 10 of British attractions for visitor numbers. The glass domes and twist on the garden of Eden captivated the visitors.
Two storys linked by industrial ghosts that are no longer there, the flowers are in their place.


Sylvana said...

I wonder how this orchid survived before man was here to pollute it?

Priscilla George said...

Wow the eden project looks like an awesome place. I wish I could see the corpse flower. It sounds beautiful and very foul.

lisa said...

Thank you for this cool informative post and links! I guess every country has struggles with development vs. preservation.