Sunday, June 10, 2007

Of Plants and Butterflies, at USF

One advantage of staying in/near a university is that one would be able to attend social, cultural, and festive events held there. Such was the case when we were living at Corry Village, a married student housing located within the UF Campus. Easter egg hunts, Christmas tree lightings, July 4 fireworks, band performances, Asian/Hispanic/Black student days, arts/books exhibitions, and many others.

Before we moved to our present home, we have visited the USF on several occasions to attend Chinese New Year celebration, music performance, Tzu-Chi (a Buddhist foundation) celebration, and a Dharma talk, not to mention the weekend trips to the Main Library for scientific exploration.

Naturally, when we moved to just across from USF, these visits will take on a new “frequency”. So yesterday we dropped in on our new neighbor, the event being the plant/herb/butterfly exhibition held at the Botanical Garden, a plant research center under the auspices of the Department of Geography.

Area-wise, it’s much smaller than the Botanical Garden near Largo that we have visited several times as well. It was a paid event, admission being $4/= per visitor, with an additional dollar for going inside a small makeshift butterfly room. Most of the visitors came away with bagful of young plants, but we did not. Our purpose was mainly an exploratory one, getting to know some of the local plant/herb/butterfly species, which abound in Malaysia too.

As in most visits, the story is best told pictorially, showcasing the Floridian offerings in horticulture and lepidoptery (yes, I did look up this word which means the scientific study of butterflies and moths).

A staghorn fern, named so because of the resemblance of the leaf to, well, the horn of a stag (a male deer). No mystery there.

Back home we have a nickname for this plant: horse face. Get it? So Staghorn, horseface, a kind of crossover of the animal and plant kingdoms?

These leavee are naturally perforated. How weird can nature get? Wonder whether there is a purpose.

The bromeliads, loud and clear.

The Butterfly room from the outside, with double plastic flap curtains at the doors to prevent butterfly escape.

Two species of butterflies.

Yet another butterfly species.

Yet another .... No wait, this can't be right. It's too huge. And yes, it's faked. Gotcha!

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