Field of Science

Botanical Santa

Ho, ho, ho! A colleague is teaching plant diversity and unless you can put the plant in students' hot little hands, it's not very good instruction, but you can't just run out to the local market, or even the local garden shop, and buy heterosporous ferns, or even more, esoteric plants, like the clubmoss quillwort. So the Phactor packaged up a care package (Psilotum, Isoetes, Marsilea, Regnellidium, Salvinia, Azolla). This is being done today because another colleague is going to be the mule and deliver the package. Oh those lucky kids. Now you may think, how generous, but now my colleague is in my debt, and the time will come when something he's got will be something the Phactor needs, and then comes the payback. Having specimens for students to study, to observe first hand, to take apart and examine, is what basic science teaching is all about, and if you ever hear someone say, "Why, Prof. Phactor, if we want them to see something like that, we show them an image", on a computer screen (!), well, run away, because this is somebody who doesn't know a bloody thing about teaching science. With an instructor like that, you don't get to make observations, you don't develop any observational skills, and your understanding of the organism will be limited, 2nd rate, and incomplete. Your instructor doesn't know, and can't be bothered to figure out, that real observation does not come from looking at an image obtained by somebody who did make an observation. And for these reasons botanists help each other out. By the way, he also wanted an Angiopteris, a modern day desendant of Carboniferous ferns, but they damn big (fronds 2+ meters long), slow to propagate vegetatively and difficult to propagate sexually, so he'll have to wait.


the ferminator? said...

would have loved to have you for one of my teachers!

Kraneia said...

You had me at "heterosporous ferns".


Merry Christmas, from one "plant nerd" to another.

Oh, and I apologize in advance.