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Bitchy Mother-in-Laws, Choadie Roadies, and a Cozy Winter Ahead

There were two noticeable changes greeting my return to San Francisco from Costa Rica and Christmas. One of the two used ‘n’ abused couches that reeked of cat piss and had been crowding the top of stairs for about two really awesome months was finally gone. And, my Sansevieria trifasciata had sent up a blooming spike.

I didn’t even know this could happen. Did you? Or at least, I never imagined what this species’ flowers would look like. See, Sansevieria trifasciata is a pretty harsh looking planttwo of its common names are “mother-in-law’s tongue” and “snakeplant” — with thick, pointed leaves that can reach four feet tall, pointed on the tips like serpentine spears. It’s classically low-maintenance, making it an incredibly common houseplant since it can thrive in places with practically no light and be watered as little as once every two months.

the spike's about a foot tall, so far....

In its native land of tropical west Africa, its connections with the human world are fierce, as well: According to Wikipedia, this plant is used as a protective charm against evil or bewitchment (much like “the moloch” passed down to a young Dio from his

see the "fasces" decorating the leaf?

Italian grandmother). Similarly, in Brazil, S. trifasciata is often associated with the Orisha of war, Ogun, and is used in rituals to remove the curse of the evil eye. And it has a strong, brutal, and practical use, too: The sword-shaped leaves offer a fiber used to fashion bowstrings. Even the etymological

origin is less than gentle: -fasciata comes from the Latin “fasces”, which referred to a bundle of rods tied around an axe, a symbol of the power of the State in ancient Rome and later the basis, of course, of the word “fascism”. There is one more benefit to add to its protecting against the evil eye and requiring about no attention is that Sansevieria trifasciata is reportedly one of the best houseplants to purify indoor air, notably helping take care of formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides.

But back to the flowers. Supposedly they smell good and strong, like jasmine. The ones on my plant have yet to open, but checking out this photo from a blog called Blue Daze, it looks like the small blossoms are dominated by long, skinny, cream-colored stamens. Something to look forward to in the New Year.

the buds

Sometimes even unexpected beauty isn’t enough to beat the winter/holiday soul-crud, though, which is where funny people like Dan Piraro, the man behind the genus Bizarro, come in. These were two of my favorites from December:

Did he call you on it? Yeah, me too. And what about this?:

Not to brag or anything, but I got something pretty cool under the sacrificial spruce tree this year, in addition to the following books:

While perusing these pages all winter, I’ll be snug under my new Phyte Club quilt, handmade by my mom. What a surprise! She printed photos from the site onto fabric and then went from there. A little self-referential, perhaps, but incredibly lovely and personal.

But before any reading gets done, the New Year must get celebrated. Frankly, I was surprised by the near total lack of good shows offered tonight. Black Cobra’s comin’ through, though, pummeling into 2012 with strength and simplicity.

 

Have fun tonight! If you’re going to drive, don’t drink but better yet just use your bike (and even then, don’t be a dumbass) or stay on a couch. Make sure you feel good enough in the morn to go on a hike or do something otherwise beautiful and soul-affirming so your year doesn’t kick off with you feeling like shit. Okay?

 

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7 comments to Bitchy Mother-in-Laws, Choadie Roadies, and a Cozy Winter Ahead

  • love yo mama!
    …..that little drop of nectar below each floret is
    exquisitely delicious
    and ants love it

  • Thanks, Charmain! Good to know about the ants, too. I was wondering about that little drop. See you in the New Year!

  • Happy New Year Katie!!
    That is the loveliest quilt I have ever seen!

    K*

    Ps
    Yay Black Cobra!
    Are you going to the show?

  • Hi Kathy! I miss you and have been meaning to be in touch. First, thanks for the quilt compliment (I’ll pass it on to the madre). Second, yes, I’m going to the show, and Cosmo’s going too! Can you please hop on a plane right now? You could still make it, I think…..Happy New Year to you and hope there’s a fun show in Chicago!

  • O.M.G.
    You AND Cosmo are going to see Black Cobra tonight?!
    *sigh* I can’t even tell you how much I wish I could teleport there right now!
    Thanks a lot, lazy scientists, for failing to invent the appropriate devices, and thereby ruining my night!

    You should introduce yourself to Jason, I told him about your blog and then we were trying to figure out if Alcatraz was a National Park or State Park.

    Tell Cosmo I said “Hi!” and that Invisible Oranges is barely readable since he left.
    Also, try to find out what he’s doing now. I really miss reading his articles.

    Have an AWESOME night!
    Miss you bunches!
    K*

  • K*–I miss you too, which is so funny because we’ve never even met in person. When Scion starts sponsoring Phyte Club, we can take a U.S. tour (maybe hitting up the MDF to see Electric Wizard) and part of it can be meeting all the cool people I’ve met-but-not-really-met through this endeavor. We can take enough cupcakes to last us the entire adventure, or better yet, travel in a biodiesel Airstream with an old 1950′s style oven inside!

    Okay, back to the events at hand: I will tell Cosmo all of that, I will probably actually quote you (“barely readable”, etc.). I will tell Jason that Alcatraz is a National Park. Then I’ll tell him he should volunteer Wednesday mornings! Ha!

    Regardless of scientific non-advances, hopefully you’re still considering coming out this way in the spring??!! xoxo, k

  • [...] Bitchy Mother-in-Laws, Choadie Roadies, and a Cozy Winter AheadPhyteclub Katie has another great post about plants and metal. I’ve had Sansevieria for years and have never seen one bloom like that. Rockin’. [...]

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