Feb 06 2013

Bodacious Botany: Not Mace, I Said A Mace

You’ll understand the reason for the title in a moment, although if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’re already sniggering.

Right, so, here we are. Due to my mad photo organizing skillz and an inordinate amount of British detective shows, I’ve now got a folder full o’ botany. I figure I might as well get some use out of the stuff, seeing as how so much of it covers my beloved geology round here. Sigh.

The title of our newest series refers to two things: the botany itself, which is bodacious, i.e., bold and audacious. Frequently, you see this stuff growing where no life should live, and doing it with a one-finger (British: two-finger) salute, or at least it would if it had fingers. The word also reminds me of Boudica, the Iceni queen who took exception to the Romans stealing her land and raping her daughters, and led an audacious uprising that trounced poorly-prepared Romans (I imagine they were all like, “An army led by a girl? Pfft. We can send a handful of warriors and kick her arse – whoops”). And yes, she was ultimately defeated, but not before she’d reportedly had Nero, that bastion of barstardry hisownself, reconsidering whether Britain was really worth all this. Not bad. She may not have ultimately won, but she was victorious enough to inspire generations of poets, playwrights, and politicians, not to mention people, so she wasn’t mis-named (she’d be a Victoria, translated into English).

So, there we are. Evocative title for our series, nice patina of history, lovely. Deserves an appropriately bold and audacious bit o’ botany to begin, and boy howdy, have I got it.

Bodacious Botany I

Bodacious Botany I

Just for comparison’s sake:

“Mace Action.” Image courtesy Josh Hallet (hyku) on Flickr.

Definitely resembles a mace, more than mace, although the color’s similar.

“Mace of nutmeg.” If you’ve ever wondered what mace (not a mace) is, it’s that red stuff round the nutmeg. Image courtesy Ramesh NG.

So our take-a-page-from-both-types-of-mace tree was fruiting out in September this year. It’s not a wild thing – it grows on our manicured grounds. That doesn’t stop it from looking pretty wild in a certain sense.

Bodacious Botany II

Bodacious Botany II

They’re not large fruits, but that doesn’t prevent them from looking like something you could use to beat someone to death with. Well, that, and they bear an uncanny resemblance to that bomb thingy in The Shadow (the movie). Of course, the interior is a little more mellow.

Bodacious Botany III

Bodacious Botany III

I took some bark shots, just for you, for the purpose of aiding in identification. I’m occasionally sensible enough to do such things.

Bodacious Botany IV

Bodacious Botany IV

Bodacious Botany V

Bodacious Botany V

And the whole tree, which I couldn’t get an artistic angle on, alas.

Bodacious Botany VI

Bodacious Botany VI

No, it’s not a big tree, but it is a bold and audacious tree, and a fitting subject for our first foray into the world of bodacious botany.


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  1. 1
    Ubi Dubium

    Looks like a Kousa Dogwood. Wikipedia says the fruits are edible, but I’ve never tried them.

  2. 2

    Kousa dogwood, I think. There seems to be quite a bit of variation in the appearance of the fruit (as in, how bumpy or smooth it is). Here is some general information, and if you scroll down to #97, you can see a version of the fruit that looks more like what you have.

    [Aside - totally off-topic] If supposedly women like pink because of red berries, then they should also have an affinity for blue and black (because of berries that colour). And an affinity for pink also does not explain how women learned to tell the difference between edible red berries and poisonous red berries, and – for that matter – unripe black berries (test them on their mates…?). [/Aside]

  3. 3

    PS Love the song, love the connections!

  4. 4

    Neat! I did not know what mace (not a mace) actually was before. And all the dogwood fruits I’ve seen before were the smooth, white berry kind. These remind me of very angry lychees. Yay learning!

  5. 5

    Very angry lychees? :D Now that you mention it…

  6. 6

    Thanx for “Boadicea.” If you like Enya, look up Celtic Woman. Lovely Irish ladies who sing like angels (I’m an atheist, but I have no better brief description), with a violinist you won’t believe.

  7. 7

    Cool, I had no idea dogwood fruits would look like that! Who’d of thunk I’d be learning so much about botany from a geology blog!

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