Monday, 19 April 2010

True mate found for Bastard Gumwood

On a non-politics day, I bring you a good news story from the St Helena Independent. Please don't all download at once; the island has a single satellite connection and too many hits will slow it down to the extent that Islanders, er, educational web browsing could be compromised.

For years a single Bastard Gum has been growing at a place called Pounceys. It was bad news for the tree, as Bastard Gums are not self pollinating, and are subject to cross-pollination from False Gumwoods. Many months of research by Lourens Malan, a horticultural research worker, led to the discovery of another, solitary Bastard Gum growing half way up the cliffs on far-away Manati Bay. Pollen and ovaries were brought together, and now a score of ethnically pure baby Bastard Gum seedlings are growing away in little pots. The Children of St Paul's primary school even acted out the germination and learned the dangers of miscegenation;

This turned out to be a lot of fun: some of the younger children volunteered to be pollinating bees, hoverflies or butterflies; three more children volunteered to be the False Gumwoods and one older student the Bastard Gumwood tree. The three False Gumwoods held up their arms for branches while Vanessa hung yellow paper balls on them, representing the pollen. The bees, hoverflies and butterflies then ran around gathering the pollen and tried to deposit it onto the Bastard Gumwood tree. In the meantime Vanessa frantically tried to stop them from passing on the pollen which would result in undesirable hybrid seed being produced. The pollinators were only stopped from hanging the pollen on the Bastard Gumwood when Lourens covered it in a big sheet to represent the cage! Many thanks to all the children who volunteered and for their enthusiastic participation.
All together ... aaaaah.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally people are facing up to the evils of race-mixing.

Kinderling said...

Anonymous, I got the same inference via Raewald's use of language that for him in-breeding is much preferred over outbreeding. We can mix an animal stock to improve its durability and intelligence but never a human.
Well, each to their caste.

Chuckles said...

So, now we have another 20 bastard gumwoods in St. Helena. Surely they could have held a short service to solemnise things?
Think of the gaps in the family tree, yet no one ever thinks of the children.

Raedwald said...

Kinderling - you're thinking too deeply. I'm all for miscegenation; I once tried to persuade the most stunning 1/4 Chinese 1/4 English 1/2 Mashona girl to have my babies, but she declined on the grounds that they might end up with my looks and her intelligence instead.

No, the real irony is in PC not yet having reached St Helena; if a teacher at a school in England did a similar thing you can bet she would have been sacked by now.

Kinderling said...

Thank you Raewald.
(note to self: must filter humour in Raewald's insights).