Tag Archives: flowers

The Virus that Destroyed the Dutch Economy

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Famously, the tulip speculation that happened in the late 1600s brought down the Dutch economy. But did you know that it wasn’t botany that brought down Holland, it was virology? The thing that sent speculators into despair wasn’t a flower, but a virus.

Tulip speculation was rampant in Holland in the 1600s. Brought over from Asia Minor, the flowers enlivened the Dutch landscape. They were sought after just at a time when money was pouring in to the Dutch economy, preparing people to spend their new found wealth on silly things. Prices climbed high and fast, and entire businesses were sold or traded at auction for a single bulb. Anything that gave people the opportunity to make money in a single transaction was valuable in and of itself, so tulip bulbs became a sensible thing to speculate on, right up until they weren’t. Suddenly people realized that they didn’t have the intrinsic value that everyone seemed to believe they did, and prices collapsed. Everyone old enough to read this has seen a crash or two in their time, so we can’t look on with too much smug superiority.

Well, maybe a little. After all, they’re just tulips. They can’t do anything except make more tulips, which should, if anything bring the price of tulips down. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for that kind of price range.

It turns out, though, that there was something that turned tulips into gold. Some tulips turned out to have a special quality that sent their worth through the roof. Some tulips, for no apparent reason, erupted from a solid color into a swirled, feathery bloom that was incredibly exotic and beautiful. No one seemed to know why any single bulb did this, and no one was able to establish a pattern for the change. The trade turned from an exchange of pricey luxury items to speculating on eagle eggs, on the understanding that sometimes, for no readily apparent reason, an egg hatched a griffin instead of an eagle.

But there was a reason, and it was called the Tulip Breaking Virus, or mosaic virus. It was transmitted either by contact with the bulb of an infected tulip or by different species of aphids. It changes pigmentation by affecting the distribution of anthocyanin, a pigment that can appear different colors depending on the pH of its area.

Of course, since that wasn’t known at the time, the Dutch dumped everything from pigeon droppings to dish water on their bulbs, all the while keeping prized bulbs away from the aphids or the other tulips which might actually have gotten them to break.

Sadly, the virus did what viruses generally do — it killed the tulip after a few blooming seasons, driving up the price for a newly-broken bulb even higher. The virus turned tulips into lottery tickets , and so it was understandable that people paid too much for them. Semper Augustus, pictured to the left, was famous for being the most expensive bulb sold during the period. It cost 13000 florins, at a time when one could get a house and garden for a third of that price. But the rampant speculation one which bulb was a winner, mocked even at the time, could only be kept up for so long. The economy collapsed, and what caused tulips to break remained a mystery until the 1900s.

The Tulip Breaking Virus is one of the many four viruses that cause flower ‘breaking’ that are still around today, with other strains affecting lilies. Gardeners now are cautioned to watch for these once-priceless flowers, and carefully weed them out of any gardens. Since the collapse of tulip speculation and the rise of tulip agriculture, botanists have selectively bred ‘Rembrandt Tulips,’ which mimic the swirled colors of breaking — without the degenerative virus. The name comes from the famous Dutch painter, since many owners of broken tulips would pay artists to make permanent copies of their fragile purchases. The paintings, of course, tend to be the priceless things now.

 ( via i09 )

Top Image: Web Gallery of Art

Semper Augustus Image: Norton Simon Image

Via SGM and Yard Smart.


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It’s Springtime!!  If you’re sneezing, your eyes are red and your sinuses are completely full of pollen, it’s because all the trees and grasses and flowering plants are having SEX!  Here is a wonderful lecture on TED Talks given by Johathan Drori, that explains the phenomenon of plant sex.  (Ladies, be careful that you aren’t impregnated by pollen floating in the wind!  🙂


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Flowers are a very effective sexual organ of the plant world.  Each flower opens itself with complete aesthetic bravado, complete with potent perfumes, brilliant colors and delicate textures.   They entice every passing bird and insect to lend assistance in their reproductive quest, to transport the vital elements of reproduction between the male and female organs of the plant.  If human beings behaved this way, every roadway and street corner would be crowded with naked females, begging male passers-by to impregnate them!  Thank goodness human beings have a little bit more discretion as to how and why they select sexual partners….no much, but a little.

  Created this Flowers Timelapse compilation of Amaryllis, Lilies, Zygocactus, Rose, Gladiolus, and Gardenias.   It is composed of  more than 7100 photos in more than 730 hours (using Canon 5D Mark II).


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Plumeria flower are found a large trees in Hawaii.  These are the flowers used to create the “leis” or “flower necklaces” that are worn by the beautiful Hawaiian people. They give 

these “leis” to all of the tourists when they get off the airplane at the airport.  When I lived in Hawaii (for two years) there were Plumeria trees everywhere around my house.  The aroma of these flowers is very soft, sensuous, and sexual, as the purpose of every flower  is  essentially sexual.  The flowers bloom all during the year because the weather is always
“warm and wet”!!   Hawaii an amazing place to be on this planet!!  For me, it is as close to the definition of “Paradise” as I can think of on Earth.

Everything about Hawaii literally “screams” out the idea of “Sexual Reproduction!  The trees, the amazing flowers, the plants, birds, and the warm and wonderful rain!  The air is always Warm and Moist and Alluring.  Soft Sunlight Glows Relentlessly.  Magnificent Moonlight illuminates the Glistening Ocean Waves at night.   The Black Sand beaches — whose sands are continually replenished from the Semen of Volcanic Ejaculations –glisten like the Wet Walls of a Virginal Vagina in the Moonlight….

beachRelentlessly Powerful Waves POUND onto the beaches of the Island Shores….  Ebbing and Flowing… In and Out….. In and Out…. In and Out….. with Soft, Soothing, Sonorous Rhythms….   and repeatedly,

again, and again, and again….. spew their Thick, White Foam of Relentless Wetness in Orgasms of Overwhelming, Penetrating Power on to the Eternally Open Thighs of Her Welcoming Sands….

Before the arrival of the European “missionary” invaders, the Beautiful Hawaiian girls were encouraged by their mothers and families to make love with ALL the young men of the neighboring villages!  They did not wear any clothing.  They displayed all of their Natural, Maternal Beauty for anyone and everyone to see and enjoy!!!  It was a requirement that they become pregnant, and give birth to a healthy baby BEFORE they were eligible to get married!

Everyone in the villages shared the responsibility to care for, feed and educate the children.  However, when the Christian “missionary” invaders arrived, they told all the Hawaiian people that this behavior was “evil” and that sex was a “sin”….   They forced the Hawaiian people to wear “clothing”, to cover their bodies in “shame”……  European Christian Missionary Invaders destroyed the culture and the civilization of the Hawaiian people forever. The honest, innocent, beauty of these marvelous people were crushed and coerced and tricked into extinction by the “Plumeria Lies” of European religion.

One hundred year later, the Hawaiian Islands and their indigenous culture and their pristine people, have been raped, pillaged and plundered by European Invaders.  Nothing remains of their innocence.  Nothing remains of the Innate, Maternal Intelligence of the Hawaiian people.  Only the relentless, radioactive waters of the Pacific Ocean, contaminated by Fukishima, embrace their Virgin Shores….