Sunday, June 28, 2020

Baboon's Tail

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) featured a plant on June 26, I'd never heard of or seen, Baboon's Tail (Xerophyta retinervis). It didn't look alive but its blackened color was due to veld (also veldt) fires.

This is a tough, resilient plant and can exist, ready to bloom, in a state of dormancy for years. According to the EPOD entry, "after a rain, it can resume its metabolic function within 48-72 hours," becoming a very lovely plant.

This plant didn't escape the notice of the early bushman who found that the stems were resistant to burning, could be fanned open and that hot coals could be stored within, left to smolder for transport from one village to another as shown in this short video (1m 04s).

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