Plants need nitrogen to grow, but if there is too much of it, the balance will be disturbed. That’s where we are right now, and a lot more needs to be done about it, and it’s very painful. What and how, and at the expense of who and where, are harsh choices.
So let’s go back to the sidewalk plants, and to the most humble of them all: wall recumbent grease †Sagina Procumben† A name that you can use as an oath, if there aren’t many swearings in the world already. What at first glance appears to be a poor, fallen moss, upon closer inspection regularly appears small green-white flowers.
Ugly things, those flowers. You need good eyes or a magnifying glass to see that they have four cups and four dirty white petals. The plant is especially resilient: it can survive in the smallest gap between tiles and clinker, despite the fact that traffic passes over it and whole tribes pass through it every day. Nitrogen is not a problem, and because other plants do not tolerate harsh conditions, they usually have few meadow grasses and some tough survivors. If there is more space, it will grow into a small, prickly shrub. The stems continue to branch and a flower will appear with a little luck. No matter dry or wet, as long as there is a little sun, the horizontal grease wall is satisfied.
Don’t feel good about yourself unless you are sure you have the right wall lube for you: it can also be dark she or Excellence† If you are sure about your business, register your discovery of Pavement Plants Research†
I’ve read it before: Members of the Dutch Society of Plant Artists photographed seventy pavement plants. Marlus Freiberg Had the daunting task of photographing a recumbent grease wall. The successful result can be seen at least until the end of August at City Museum Mausoleum†
Text: Hanneke Jelles, botanist horz leiden
Images: KU Leuven; Natalie Tyrion Haneke Giles
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