Plants: From Roots to Riches. Part 2 of 5
Todays second episode on RN Science show gave a history of the orchid, how Europeans cut down whole forests to obtain plants and to prevent others to profit from what they found. Victorian botanical gardens had quite a lot to answer for……. but their collections now lead the way in allowing us to understand and value so much more. Importantly, as to how we have to adapt to the changing flora from introduced plants and for us to naturalise as humans in the environment we have altered so rapidly.
Cunjavoi in seed.
Lantana, which we slowly slash, pull and mulch here, was first introduced into Europe by the Dutch, from South America. Then to England from where it was brought to Australia as a pretty flowering plant, ideal for hedge rows in gardens. Of course in a much cooler Europe, lantana remained a manageable small plant in the garden. Here it just keeps growing.
Here I value lantana as a protector of degraded and exposed soil until we can successfully replace it, with either productive food crops or new forest. I also learnt today that the lantana fruit makes a delicate jam and can be eaten raw as a berry.