Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Fruity Fascism

Cherry Blossom Gives Way To Daisies
I recently received an interesting comment from a foraging friend in South Africa, this spurred me into thought about the nature of the native, or aboriginal arboreality (perhaps).
“…Sadly here in SA we don't have fruit-trees, vines etc. in public places unlike the UK and all orchards are protected by razor wire or gun-shot! You live in a different world to me. Just about the only trees on roads etc. are oaks = acorns, not sure what you can do with them. They are on a witch hunt to get rid of all alien vegetation too, so have cut down beautiful old trees. You must realise most properties here are behind high security walls. Even parks are not safe to walk in alone. People get robbed hiking on the mountains etc...”
I know that we are very lucky in UK to live in such green and pleasant surroundings. Lots of my favourites, like cherries are native trees, and as a result, they are literally all over the place. Unfortunately for the safety and peace of foragers this does occasionally mean, beside the busy roads that criss-cross our allegedly tranquil landscape.
April Showers
But what really constitutes a native tree?
Apple trees and orchards are a part of English heritage but they were actually introduced by the Romans! Before that we only had crab apples, and I don’t know how that would have inspired Newton, or indeed changed the legend of William Tell. Yet, if someone were to suggest that we ought to get rid of all our alien apple trees, I would be most upset and consider it an act of arboreal Apartheid (no offence intended to my S. African friends) or Fruiticide perhaps.
(British) Bluebells - Lurking, Suspiciously - Somewhere Near You
On the other hand, I am all for reintroducing species that have been hunted into extinction. I think a few wild boar, wolves and bears would make a picnic more interesting and a walk in the woods or camping far more exciting!
This Spring I have heard a lot about the veritable armada of Spanish Bluebells, which are apparently invading our countryside – they are described as less delicate and less pretty than our native ones, other than they are not quite as good in some vaguely brutish way...
(Spanish) White Bluebells Coming over Here, Stealing Our Woods?
In the end, I think that invasive or alien species, as they are termed, are generally no more harmful than slang or txt language. It annoys the pedants, but that is never a bad thing.  Nature, as with language, is in a constant state of flux and change, things do get naturalised. It is fruitless to try to control nature; even gardens need ramshackle areas, left to be wild.
What Time Is It? Springtime!
If you really want a very flat, sterile, bland, moss and mole free lawn with no variation, weeds, animals or anomalies – then go and play golf, but I don’t think that is natural either.

My sister pointed me to this link about recent scientific proof that my theories are correct (I always suspected as much) a month or two after my writing this post...

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