When we think of life we tend to think of it as a division between plants and animals, like Aristotle did back in 300 BC. We leave out fungi, which in layman's terms would be a plant. It wasn't even recognized as its own group until 1969. Bacteria is sort of like an animal cause it moves right? Other living things get left out of the common consciousness as well, life has a way of being simple and incredibly complex at the same time.
However, as children we learn and it sticks in our heads that plants form the basis of all life. They are at the bottom of the food chain and they take energy from the earth and the sun and give it to everything else. While reality is more complex, this simple hierarchical perception of how nature works is hard to shake. In the same vein of simplicity, this section is where we put all the plants that don't easily fit into another category.
Here we have clover- a plant in the pea family, a legume that grows as a ground cover able to create vast networks of roots that cover acres. The tiny tears plant grows in the same fashion. Rose and pokeweed both grow like shrubs, although left unchecked in cultivation they can grow to be as massive as a tree. A single rose bush in Tombstone AZ covers 9000 square feet. And then, of course, there is the ginkgo, sort of a missing link of plant life that used to dominate the earth, but now is the last of its kind.
There are over 300,000 species of plants that form the basis of most ecologies and act as life support for humans and every other animal. They give us:
- food - fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, oils... (sad fact: About 7000 different species of plants have been used for food, today we mainly use about 30 species)
- Industry - fiber, latex, dye, soap, pesticides, poisons, wood...
- medicine & drugs
What is hard to understand in modern times is that not all green is good, invasive species are a serious problem. Humans have a tendency to dominate and create large monocultures, cloned apple orchards, endless corn fields. Or, think of globalization, we have brought countless plants from one place to the next. For the past 500 years, people have been creating disruptions in environments that took millennia to achieve a level of harmony and balance, a level where several hundred competing species may exist at the same time. Plants may not fight back when we uproot and move them across the world, but they will definitely outlive us if we don't learn how to thrive with diversity and balance the way that they do.
Clover, Hard at Work on Many Farms
See the behind-the-scenes work that clover does on farmland. From providing food for bees and livestock to fixing the soil for other plants, clover is a staple of a lot of rural landscapes.
See how we design pieces to be 3D printed in wax. The casting process is the same but the detail and intricacy you can get from a computer assisted model is incredible.