1989/03: Secret Live of Plants – Content + Introduction

Contents

Introduction
Part I: Modern Research
1. Plants and ESP
2. Plants Can Read Your Mind
3. Plants That Open Doors
4. Visitors from Space
5. Latest Soviet Discoveries
Part II: Pioneers of Plant Mysteries
6. Plant Life Magnified 100 Million Times
7. The Metamorphosis of Plants
8. Plants Will Grow to Please You
9. Wizard of Tuskegee
Part III: Tuned to the Music of the Spheres
10. The Harmonic Life of Plants
11. Plants and Electromagnetism
12. Force Fields, Humans and Plants
13. The Mystery of Plant and Human Auras
Part IV: Children of the Soil
14. Soil: The Staff of Life
15. Chemicals, Plants and Man
16. Live Plants or Dead Planets
17. Alchemists in the Garden
Part V: The Radiance of Life
18. Dowsing Plants for Health19. Radionic Pesticides
20. Mind Over Matter
21. Findhorn and the Garden of Eden

Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Index
About the Authors
Also by Peter Tompkins
Copyright
About the Publisher

Introduction

Short of Aphrodite, there is nothing lovelier on this planet than a flower, nor more essential than a plant. The true matrix of human life is the greensward covering mother earth. Without green plants we would neither breathe nor eat. On the undersurface of every leaf a million movable lips are engaged in devouring carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen. All together, 25 million square miles of leaf surface are daily engaged in this miracle of photosynthesis, producing oxygen and food for man and beast.


Of the 375 billion tons of food we consume each year the bulk comes from plants, which synthesize it out of air and soil with the help of sunlight. The remainder comes from animal products, which in turn are derived from plants. All the food, drink, intoxicants, drugs and medicines that keep man alive and, if properly used, radiantly healthy are ours through the sweetness of photosynthesis. Sugar produces all our starches, fats, oils, waxes, cellulose. From crib to coffin, man relies on cellulose as the basis for his shelter, clothing, fuel, fibers, basketry, cordage, musical instruments, and the paper on which he scribbles his philosophy. The abundance of plants profitably used by man is indicated by nearly six hundred pages in Uphof’s Dictionary of Economic Plants. Agriculture—as the economists agree—is the basis for a nation’s wealth.

 

Instinctively aware of the aesthetic vibrations of plants, which are spiritually satisfying, human beings are happiest and most comfortable when living with flora. At birth, marriage, death, blossoms are prerequisites, as they are at mealtime or festivities. We give plants and flowers as tokens of love, of friendship, or homage, and of thanks for hospitality. Our houses are adorned with gardens, our cities with parks, our nations with national preserves. The first thing a woman does to make a room livable is to place a plant in it or a vase of fresh cut flowers. Most men, if pressed, might describe paradise, whether in heaven or on earth, as a garden filled with luxuriant orchids, uncut, frequented by a nymph or two.


Aristotle’s dogma that plants have souls but no sensation lasted through the
Middle Ages and into the eighteenth century, when Carl von Linné, grandfather
of modern botany, declared that plants differ from animals and humans only in
their lack of movement, a conceit which was shot down by the great nineteenth-
century botanist Charles Darwin, who proved that every tendril has its power of
independent movement. As Darwin put it, plants “acquire and display this power
only when it is of some advantage to them.”


At the beginning of the twentieth century a gifted Viennese biologist with the
Gallic name of Raoul Francé put forth the idea, shocking to contemporary
natural philosophers, that plants move their bodies as freely, easily, and
gracefully as the most skilled animal or human, and that the only reason we
don’t appreciate the fact is that plants do so at a much slower pace than humans.
The roots of plants, said Francé, burrow inquiringly into the earth, the buds
and twigs swing in definite circles, the leaves and blossoms bend and shiver with
change, the tendrils circle questingly and reach out with ghostly arms to feel
their surroundings. Man, said Francé, merely thinks plants motionless and
feelingless because he will not take the time to watch them.


Poets and philosophers such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rudolf
Steiner, who took the trouble to watch plants, discovered that they grow in
opposite directions, partly burrowing into the ground as if attracted by gravity,
partly shooting up into the air as if pulled by some form of antigravity, or levity.
Wormlike rootlets, which Darwin likened to a brain, burrow constantly
downward with thin white threads, crowding themselves firmly into the soil,
tasting it as they go. Small hollow chambers in which a ball of starch can rattle
indicate to the root tips the direction of the pull of gravity.


When the earth is dry, the roots turn toward moister ground, finding their
way into buried pipes, stretching, as in the case of the lowly alfalfa plant, as far as forty feet, developing an energy that can bore through concrete. No one has
yet counted the roots of a tree, but a study of a single rye plant indicates a total
of over 13 million rootlets with a combined length of 380 miles. On these
rootlets of a rye plant are fine root hairs estimated to number some 14 billion
with a total length of 6,600 miles, almost the distance from pole to pole.
As the special burrowing cells are worn out by contact with stones, pebbles,
and large grains of sand, they are rapidly replaced, but when they reach a source
of nourishment they die and are replaced by cells designed to dissolve mineral
salts and collect the resulting elements. This basic nourishment is passed from
cell to cell up through the plant, which constitutes a single unit of protoplasm, a
watery or gelatinous substance considered the basis of physical life.


The root is thus a waterpump, with water acting as a universal solvent,
raising elements from root to leaf, evaporating and falling back to earth to act
once more as the medium for this chain of life. The leaves of an ordinary
sunflower will transpire in a day as much water as a man perspires. On a hot day
a single birch can absorb as much as four hundred quarts, exuding cooling
moisture through its leaves.


No plant, says Francé, is without movement; all growth is a series of
movements; plants are constantly preoccupied with bending, turning and
quivering. He describes a summer day with thousands of polyplike arms
reaching from a peaceful arbor, trembling, quivering in their eagerness for new
support for the heavy stalk that grows behind them. When the tendril, which
sweeps a full circle in sixty-seven minutes, finds a perch, within twenty seconds
it starts to curve around the object, and within the hour has wound itself so
firmly it is hard to tear away. The tendril then curls itself like a corkscrew and in
so doing raises the vine to itself.


A climbing plant which needs a prop will creep toward the nearest support.
Should this be shifted, the vine, within a few hours, will change its course into
the new direction. Can the plant see the pole? Does it sense it in some
unfathomed way? If a plant is growing between obstructions and cannot see a
potential support it will unerringly grow toward a hidden support, avoiding the
area where none exists.


Plants, says Francé, are capable of intent: they can stretch toward, or seek
out, what they want in ways as mysterious as the most fantastic creations of
romance.
Far from existing inertly, the inhabitants of the pasture—or what the ancient
Hellenes called botane—appear to be able to perceive and to react to what is
happening in their environment at a level of sophistication far surpassing that of
humans.


The sundew plant will grasp at a fly with infallible accuracy, moving in just
the right direction toward where the prey is to be found. Some parasitical plants
can recognize the slightest trace of the odor of their victim, and will overcome
all obstacles to crawl in its direction.


Plants seem to know which ants will steal their nectar, closing when these
ants are about, opening only when there is enough dew on their stems to keep the
ants from climbing. The more sophisticated acacia actually enlists the protective
services of certain ants which it rewards with nectar in return for the ants’
protection against other insects and herbivorous mammals.


Is it chance that plants grow into special shapes to adapt to the idiosyncrasies
of insects which will pollinate them, luring these insects with special color and
fragrance, rewarding them with their favorite nectar, devising extraordinary
canals and floral machinery with which to ensnare a bee so as to release it
through a trap door only when the pollination process is completed?


Is it really nothing but a reflex or coincidence that a plant such as the orchid
Trichoceros parviflorus will grow its petals to imitate the female of a species of
fly so exactly that the male attempts to mate with it and in so doing pollinates the
orchid? Is it pure chance that night-blossoming flowers grow white the better to
attract night moths and night-flying butterflies, emitting a stronger fragrance at
dusk, or that the carrion lily develops the smell of rotting meat in areas where
only flies abound, whereas flowers which rely on the wind to cross-pollinate the
species do not waste energy on making themselves beautiful, fragrant or
appealing to insects, but remain relatively unattractive?


To protect themselves plants develop thorns, a bitter taste, or gummy
secretions that catch and kill unfriendly insects. The timorous Mimosa pudica
has a mechanism which reacts whenever a beetle or an ant or a worm crawls up
its stem toward its delicate leaves: as the intruder touches a spur the stem raises,
the leaves fold up, and the assailant is either rolled off the branch by the
unexpected movement or is obliged to draw back in fright.


Some plants, unable to find nitrogen in swampy land, obtain it by devouring
living creatures. There are more than five hundred varieties of carnivorous
plants, eating any kind of meat from insect to beef, using endlessly cunning
methods to capture their prey, from tentacles to sticky hairs to funnel-like traps.
The tentacles of carnivorous plants are not only mouths but stomachs raised on
poles with which to seize and eat their prey, to digest both meat and blood, and
leave nothing but a skeleton.


Insect-devouring sundews pay no attention to pebbles, bits of metal, or other
foreign substances placed on their leaves, but are quick to sense the nourishment
to be derived from a piece of meat. Darwin found that the sundew can be excited when a piece of thread is laid on it weighing no more than 1/78,000 of a grain. A tendril, which next to the rootlets constitutes the most sensitive portion of a plant, will bend if a piece of silk thread is laid across it weighing but .00025 of a
gram.


The ingenuity of plants in devising forms of construction far exceeds that of
human engineers. Man-made structures cannot match the supply strength of the
long hollow tubes that support fantastic weights against terrific storms. A plant’s
use of fibers wrapped in spirals is a mechanism of great resistance against
tearing not yet developed by human ingenuity. Cells elongate into sausages or
flat ribbons locked one to the other to form almost unbreakable cords. As a tree
grows upward it scientifically thickens to support the greater weight.
The Australian eucalyptus can raise its head on a slim trunk above the
ground 480 feet, or as high as the Great Pyramid of Cheops, and certain walnuts
can hold a harvest of 100,000 nuts. The Virginia knotweed can tie a sailor’s knot
which is put to such a strain when it dries that it snaps, hurling the seeds to
germinate as far as possible from mother.


Plants are even sentient to orientation and to the future. Frontiersmen and
hunters in the prairies of the Mississippi Valley discovered a sunflower plant,
Silphium laciniatum, whose leaves accurately indicate the points of the compass.
Indian licorice, or Arbrus precatorius, is so keenly sensitive to all forms of
electrical and magnetic influences it is used as a weather plant. Botanists who
first experimented with it in London’s Kew Gardens found in it a means for
predicting cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
So accurate are alpine flowers about the seasons, they know when spring is
coming and bore their way up through lingering snowbanks, developing their
own heat with which to melt the snow.


Plants which react so certainly, so variously, and so promptly to the outer
world, must, says Francé, have some means of communicating with the outer
world, something comparable or superior to our senses. Francé insists that plants
are constantly observing and recording events and phenomena of which man—
trapped in his anthropocentric view of the world, subjectively revealed to him
through his five senses—knows nothing.


Whereas plants have been almost universally looked upon as senseless
automata, they have now been found to be able to distinguish between sounds
inaudible to the human ear and color wavelengths such as infrared and
ultraviolet invisible to the human eye; they are specially sensitive to X-rays and
to the high frequency of television.
The whole vegetal world, says Francé, lives responsive to the movement of
the earth and its satellite moon, to the movement of the other planets of our solar system, and one day will be shown to be affected by the stars and other cosmic bodies in the universe.
As the external form of a plant is kept a unit and restored whenever part of it
is destroyed, Francé assumes there must be some conscious entity supervising
the entire form, some intelligence directing the plant, either from within, or from
without.


Over half a century ago Francé, who believed plants to be possessed of all
the attributes of living creatures including “the most violent reaction against
abuse and the most ardent gratitude for favors,” could have written a Secret Life
of Plants, but what he had already put into print was either ignored by the
establishment or considered heretically shocking. What shocked them most was
his suggestion that the awareness of plants might originate in a supramaterial
world of cosmic beings to which, long before the birth of Christ, the Hindu sages
referred as “devas,” and which, as fairies, elves, gnomes, sylphs and a host of
other creatures, were a matter of direct vision and experience to clairvoyants
among the Celts and other sensitives. The idea was considered by vegetal
scientists to be as charmingly jejune as it was hopelessly romantic.
It has taken the startling discoveries of several scientific minds in the 1960s
to bring the plant world sharply back to the attention of mankind. Even so there
are skeptics who find it hard to believe that plants may at last be the bridesmaids
at a marriage of physics and metaphysics.


Evidence now supports the vision of the poet and the philosopher that plants
are living, breathing, communicating creatures, endowed with personality and
the attributes of soul. It is only we, in our blindness, who have insisted on
considering them automata. Most extraordinary, it now appears that plants may
be ready, willing, and able to cooperate with humanity in the Herculean job of
turning this planet back into a garden from the squalor and corruption of what
England’s pioneer ecologist William Cobbett would have called a “wen.”

 

Short of Aphrodite, there is nothing lovelier on this planet than a flower, nor
more essential than a plant. The true matrix of human life is the greensward
covering mother earth. Without green plants we would neither breathe nor eat.
On the undersurface of every leaf a million movable lips are engaged in
devouring carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen. All together, 25 million square
miles of leaf surface are daily engaged in this miracle of photosynthesis,
producing oxygen and food for man and beast.


Of the 375 billion tons of food we consume each year the bulk comes from
plants, which synthesize it out of air and soil with the help of sunlight. The
remainder comes from animal products, which in turn are derived from plants.
All the food, drink, intoxicants, drugs and medicines that keep man alive and, if
properly used, radiantly healthy are ours through the sweetness of
photosynthesis. Sugar produces all our starches, fats, oils, waxes, cellulose.
From crib to coffin, man relies on cellulose as the basis for his shelter, clothing,
fuel, fibers, basketry, cordage, musical instruments, and the paper on which he
scribbles his philosophy. The abundance of plants profitably used by man is indicated by nearly six hundred pages in Uphof’s Dictionary of Economic
Plants. Agriculture—as the economists agree—is the basis for a nation’s wealth.
Instinctively aware of the aesthetic vibrations of plants, which are spiritually
satisfying, human beings are happiest and most comfortable when living with
flora. At birth, marriage, death, blossoms are prerequisites, as they are at
mealtime or festivities. We give plants and flowers as tokens of love, of
friendship, or homage, and of thanks for hospitality. Our houses are adorned
with gardens, our cities with parks, our nations with national preserves. The first
thing a woman does to make a room livable is to place a plant in it or a vase of
fresh cut flowers. Most men, if pressed, might describe paradise, whether in
heaven or on earth, as a garden filled with luxuriant orchids, uncut, frequented
by a nymph or two.


Aristotle’s dogma that plants have souls but no sensation lasted through the
Middle Ages and into the eighteenth century, when Carl von Linné, grandfather
of modern botany, declared that plants differ from animals and humans only in
their lack of movement, a conceit which was shot down by the great nineteenth-
century botanist Charles Darwin, who proved that every tendril has its power of
independent movement. As Darwin put it, plants “acquire and display this power
only when it is of some advantage to them.”


At the beginning of the twentieth century a gifted Viennese biologist with the
Gallic name of Raoul Francé put forth the idea, shocking to contemporary
natural philosophers, that plants move their bodies as freely, easily, and
gracefully as the most skilled animal or human, and that the only reason we
don’t appreciate the fact is that plants do so at a much slower pace than humans.
The roots of plants, said Francé, burrow inquiringly into the earth, the buds
and twigs swing in definite circles, the leaves and blossoms bend and shiver with
change, the tendrils circle questingly and reach out with ghostly arms to feel
their surroundings. Man, said Francé, merely thinks plants motionless and
feelingless because he will not take the time to watch them.


Poets and philosophers such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rudolf
Steiner, who took the trouble to watch plants, discovered that they grow in
opposite directions, partly burrowing into the ground as if attracted by gravity,
partly shooting up into the air as if pulled by some form of antigravity, or levity.
Wormlike rootlets, which Darwin likened to a brain, burrow constantly
downward with thin white threads, crowding themselves firmly into the soil,
tasting it as they go. Small hollow chambers in which a ball of starch can rattle
indicate to the root tips the direction of the pull of gravity.
When the earth is dry, the roots turn toward moister ground, finding their
way into buried pipes, stretching, as in the case of the lowly alfalfa plant, as far as forty feet, developing an energy that can bore through concrete. No one has
yet counted the roots of a tree, but a study of a single rye plant indicates a total
of over 13 million rootlets with a combined length of 380 miles. On these
rootlets of a rye plant are fine root hairs estimated to number some 14 billion
with a total length of 6,600 miles, almost the distance from pole to pole.
As the special burrowing cells are worn out by contact with stones, pebbles,
and large grains of sand, they are rapidly replaced, but when they reach a source
of nourishment they die and are replaced by cells designed to dissolve mineral
salts and collect the resulting elements. This basic nourishment is passed from
cell to cell up through the plant, which constitutes a single unit of protoplasm, a
watery or gelatinous substance considered the basis of physical life.
The root is thus a waterpump, with water acting as a universal solvent,
raising elements from root to leaf, evaporating and falling back to earth to act
once more as the medium for this chain of life. The leaves of an ordinary
sunflower will transpire in a day as much water as a man perspires. On a hot day
a single birch can absorb as much as four hundred quarts, exuding cooling
moisture through its leaves.


No plant, says Francé, is without movement; all growth is a series of
movements; plants are constantly preoccupied with bending, turning and
quivering. He describes a summer day with thousands of polyplike arms
reaching from a peaceful arbor, trembling, quivering in their eagerness for new
support for the heavy stalk that grows behind them. When the tendril, which
sweeps a full circle in sixty-seven minutes, finds a perch, within twenty seconds
it starts to curve around the object, and within the hour has wound itself so
firmly it is hard to tear away. The tendril then curls itself like a corkscrew and in
so doing raises the vine to itself.


A climbing plant which needs a prop will creep toward the nearest support.
Should this be shifted, the vine, within a few hours, will change its course into
the new direction. Can the plant see the pole? Does it sense it in some
unfathomed way? If a plant is growing between obstructions and cannot see a
potential support it will unerringly grow toward a hidden support, avoiding the
area where none exists.


Plants, says Francé, are capable of intent: they can stretch toward, or seek
out, what they want in ways as mysterious as the most fantastic creations of
romance. Far from existing inertly, the inhabitants of the pasture—or what the ancient
Hellenes called botane—appear to be able to perceive and to react to what is
happening in their environment at a level of sophistication far surpassing that of
humans.


The sundew plant will grasp at a fly with infallible accuracy, moving in just
the right direction toward where the prey is to be found. Some parasitical plants
can recognize the slightest trace of the odor of their victim, and will overcome
all obstacles to crawl in its direction.
Plants seem to know which ants will steal their nectar, closing when these
ants are about, opening only when there is enough dew on their stems to keep the
ants from climbing. The more sophisticated acacia actually enlists the protective
services of certain ants which it rewards with nectar in return for the ants’
protection against other insects and herbivorous mammals.


Is it chance that plants grow into special shapes to adapt to the idiosyncrasies
of insects which will pollinate them, luring these insects with special color and
fragrance, rewarding them with their favorite nectar, devising extraordinary
canals and floral machinery with which to ensnare a bee so as to release it
through a trap door only when the pollination process is completed?
Is it really nothing but a reflex or coincidence that a plant such as the orchid
Trichoceros parviflorus will grow its petals to imitate the female of a species of
fly so exactly that the male attempts to mate with it and in so doing pollinates the
orchid? Is it pure chance that night-blossoming flowers grow white the better to
attract night moths and night-flying butterflies, emitting a stronger fragrance at
dusk, or that the carrion lily develops the smell of rotting meat in areas where
only flies abound, whereas flowers which rely on the wind to cross-pollinate the
species do not waste energy on making themselves beautiful, fragrant or
appealing to insects, but remain relatively unattractive?


To protect themselves plants develop thorns, a bitter taste, or gummy
secretions that catch and kill unfriendly insects. The timorous Mimosa pudica
has a mechanism which reacts whenever a beetle or an ant or a worm crawls up
its stem toward its delicate leaves: as the intruder touches a spur the stem raises,
the leaves fold up, and the assailant is either rolled off the branch by the
unexpected movement or is obliged to draw back in fright.
Some plants, unable to find nitrogen in swampy land, obtain it by devouring
living creatures. There are more than five hundred varieties of carnivorous
plants, eating any kind of meat from insect to beef, using endlessly cunning
methods to capture their prey, from tentacles to sticky hairs to funnel-like traps.
The tentacles of carnivorous plants are not only mouths but stomachs raised on
poles with which to seize and eat their prey, to digest both meat and blood, and
leave nothing but a skeleton.


Insect-devouring sundews pay no attention to pebbles, bits of metal, or other
foreign substances placed on their leaves, but are quick to sense the nourishment
to be derived from a piece of meat. Darwin found that the sundew can be excited when a piece of thread is laid on it weighing no more than 1/78,000 of a grain. A
tendril, which next to the rootlets constitutes the most sensitive portion of a
plant, will bend if a piece of silk thread is laid across it weighing but .00025 of a
gram.


The ingenuity of plants in devising forms of construction far exceeds that of
human engineers. Man-made structures cannot match the supply strength of the
long hollow tubes that support fantastic weights against terrific storms. A plant’s
use of fibers wrapped in spirals is a mechanism of great resistance against
tearing not yet developed by human ingenuity. Cells elongate into sausages or
flat ribbons locked one to the other to form almost unbreakable cords. As a tree
grows upward it scientifically thickens to support the greater weight.
The Australian eucalyptus can raise its head on a slim trunk above the
ground 480 feet, or as high as the Great Pyramid of Cheops, and certain walnuts
can hold a harvest of 100,000 nuts. The Virginia knotweed can tie a sailor’s knot
which is put to such a strain when it dries that it snaps, hurling the seeds to
germinate as far as possible from mother.

 

Plants are even sentient to orientation and to the future. Frontiersmen and
hunters in the prairies of the Mississippi Valley discovered a sunflower plant,
Silphium laciniatum, whose leaves accurately indicate the points of the compass.
Indian licorice, or Arbrus precatorius, is so keenly sensitive to all forms of
electrical and magnetic influences it is used as a weather plant. Botanists who
first experimented with it in London’s Kew Gardens found in it a means for
predicting cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
So accurate are alpine flowers about the seasons, they know when spring is
coming and bore their way up through lingering snowbanks, developing their
own heat with which to melt the snow.


Plants which react so certainly, so variously, and so promptly to the outer
world, must, says Francé, have some means of communicating with the outer
world, something comparable or superior to our senses. Francé insists that plants
are constantly observing and recording events and phenomena of which man—
trapped in his anthropocentric view of the world, subjectively revealed to him
through his five senses—knows nothing.


Whereas plants have been almost universally looked upon as senseless
automata, they have now been found to be able to distinguish between sounds
inaudible to the human ear and color wavelengths such as infrared and
ultraviolet invisible to the human eye; they are specially sensitive to X-rays and
to the high frequency of television.


The whole vegetal world, says Francé, lives responsive to the movement of
the earth and its satellite moon, to the movement of the other planets of our solar system, and one day will be shown to be affected by the stars and other cosmic
bodies in the universe.
As the external form of a plant is kept a unit and restored whenever part of it
is destroyed, Francé assumes there must be some conscious entity supervising
the entire form, some intelligence directing the plant, either from within, or from
without.


Over half a century ago Francé, who believed plants to be possessed of all
the attributes of living creatures including “the most violent reaction against
abuse and the most ardent gratitude for favors,” could have written a Secret Life
of Plants, but what he had already put into print was either ignored by the
establishment or considered heretically shocking. What shocked them most was
his suggestion that the awareness of plants might originate in a supramaterial
world of cosmic beings to which, long before the birth of Christ, the Hindu sages
referred as “devas,” and which, as fairies, elves, gnomes, sylphs and a host of
other creatures, were a matter of direct vision and experience to clairvoyants
among the Celts and other sensitives. The idea was considered by vegetal
scientists to be as charmingly jejune as it was hopelessly romantic.
It has taken the startling discoveries of several scientific minds in the 1960s
to bring the plant world sharply back to the attention of mankind. Even so there
are skeptics who find it hard to believe that plants may at last be the bridesmaids
at a marriage of physics and metaphysics.


Evidence now supports the vision of the poet and the philosopher that plants
are living, breathing, communicating creatures, endowed with personality and
the attributes of soul. It is only we, in our blindness, who have insisted on
considering them automata. Most extraordinary, it now appears that plants may
be ready, willing, and able to cooperate with humanity in the Herculean job of
turning this planet back into a garden from the squalor and corruption of what
England’s pioneer ecologist William Cobbett would have called a “wen.”

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