30 Apr 2013

A - Z Challenge - Z

Zizania. Zest (enthusiasm).

Origination in America, the ornamental zinnia, with its colorful, long-lasting flower-heads, is grown in English gardens and in no way resembles the exotic zizania, which I'm featuring today.

Wild rice, also called Canada rice, Indian rice, and water oats, are four species of grasses forming the genus Zizania, and the grain which can be harvested from them. The grain was historically gathered and eaten in both North America and China. While it is now a delicacy in North America, the grain is eaten less in China, where Zizania's stem is used as a vegetable. Not directly related to Asian Wild rice, the grains have a chewy outer sheath with a tender inner grain that has a slightly vegetal taste. The plants grow in shallow water in small lakes and slow-flowing streams. Often, only the flowering head of wild rice rises above the water.
Some people would see the water as a hazard and the flowering head as a weed. With their bad attitude to life, pessimists radiate gloom. 

As an optimist, I prefer to see the wonderful detail in everything I encounter and reflect my zest for life to those around me. I expect a favorable side of events or conditions and the best outcome. I believe that good  ultimately predominates over evil in the world and that positive thoughts affect reality.

What a wonderful topic to finish the A - Z challenge with: Zest.

Proverb: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

29 Apr 2013

A - Z Challenge - Y

The reflection of British wildflowers in emotions.
Yellow Rattle. Youthful.

This plant is unusual in that it is partially parasitic on other plants. The Yellow Rattles' roots withdraw sustenance from their neighbors. Rhinanthus Minor grows in wet meadows and mashes. The hooded flowers are born in the axils of the upper leaves Brown sepals are fused together to form an inflated tube of yellow petals. The common name comes because the plant rattles in the wind when mature and dry.

Half the world's population is under twenty five years. A youthful population allows a country to build an educated and civilized community, provides a growing market for manufactured products and provides a large tax base to support the aging population. However, a youthful population strains education and health-care services, and may limit the number of jobs in the future. When rural areas are no longer able to support the people living there, urban areas will be undated with extra population, leading to shanty-towns in places with a growing youthful population like Brazil, China, Gambia, and India.

Proverb: Youth is wasted on the young.

27 Apr 2013

A - Z Challenge - X

The reflection of British wildflowers in emotions.
Xanthoceras sorbifolium. Xenophobic. (Intolerant)

I couldn't find a British wildflower beginning with X, so I turned to a species Xanthoceras which is native to Northern China where it grows up to 8m tall. The genus name means yellow horn. The species name refers to the leaves, similar to those of Rowans(Sorbus). The leaves, flowers, and seeds of yellowhorn are all edible, which makes it a good contender to include in the herbal remedies and natural food list I've been featuring.

If a person is Xenophobic, they exhibit a fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. The foreign-born population of the United Kingdom includes immigrants from a wide range of countries who are resident in the United Kingdom—the biggest melting pot of nations in modern times. Some of the natives are extremely Xenophobic towards the newcomers, despite their contribution to the culture and economy.

In 2010, there were 19 foreign-born groups that consisted of at least 100,000 individuals residing in the UK. People originate from Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda, United States and Zimbabwe. The Chinese restaurant vies in popularity with the Indian, adding their food specialties to the normal British cuisine. The same Xenophobic individuals gladly eat foreign food.

Proverb: Two wrongs don't make a right.

26 Apr 2013

A - Z Challenge - W

The reflection of British wildflowers in emotions.
Watercress Rorippa. Wise  woman.

The perennial watercress Rorippa Amphibian grows on the margins of lakes and streams. A conspicuous terminal raceme of golden-yellow flowers rises from the centre of the rosette of leaves. The peppery taste of the cultivated watercress livens up salads and can be used as a garnish. Watercress is rich in Vitamin A and C, and a variety of nutrients. The leaves have been used for bladder and kidney problems.

Throughout the ancient and medieval periods, poor people in Europe turned to polar healers. The so-called wise woman possessed knowledge, passed down through generations, of traditional or folk medicine. She dealt with all kinds of illnesses and conditions, including childbirth and, in some cases, abortion. Her knowledge and skills were by not restricted to women’s health. Methods of diagnosis and treatment were based on the belief that all human life was linked to the rest of creation. Wise women used many practical herbal remedies, drawing on plants and the rest of the natural environment, which they knew well.

Their cures were often scoffed at. However, more recently the herbal remedies of folk medicine have been found to include many naturally occurring ingredients that are medically useful. Modern homeopothy has developed into a prominent branch of alternative medicine.

Proverb: To every thing there is a season.

25 Apr 2013

A - Z Challenge - V

The reflection of British wildflowers in emotions.
Verbena officinalis. Visionary

In late summer, the plant Verbena bears slender spikes of tiny pale violet or white flowers. Common Vervain is an old medicinal plant. Derived from an old Cletic word meaning 'to drive away the stone', it illustrates the use in the treatment of kidney stones. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used it as an altar herb, especially as a symbol of the goddess Isis and also as an amulet of protection.

The visionary Joan of Arc first had visions when she was twelve. At least two other people saw the same visible figures of saints and angels which she could see and touch. She saw St. Catherine, St. Margaret and Archangel Michael, occasionally Gabriel and large hosts of angels on some occasions. They directed her to go to France and end the suffering her people had endured.

Proverb: To err is human; to forgive divine.