Saturday, August 23, 2008
named, bakers, hamburgers
The name of this flower, growing in a garden on the corner of Mount Sion and Little Mount Sion escaped me, though the last syllable sat in my mind, not much use unless you are looking at a rhyming plant encyclopedia (does one exist?). Then today leafing through a good, fat book, I got it: Rudbeckia or cone flower. Why Rudbeckia? It is named after Olof Rudbeck (1660 -1740) who was, it seems, the predecessor of the great Linnaeus at Upsala University. This variety looks as though it is R. nitida 'Herbstonne'. The more famous variety is R.birta (black-eyed susan). Thank you The Readers Digest Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers.
Another linguistic puzzle for those unfamiliar with the changing ways of the English language. On a stand at the farmers' market today devoted entirely to different varieties of potato, I note the label 'bakers'.
Numbers fascinate me largely because I find them difficult to understand. Today I read that Americans consume 14 billion hamburgers every year year. The number fourteen billion sticks in my mind for another reason. It is 0.3 billion years short of the age of the universe, which is believed to be (according to the last estimate I read) 13.7 billion years old. This strikes me as a useful way of remembering how many hamburgers Americans eat in a year.