Monday, 6 May 2019

botantical mysogyny

Though admittedly a simplification of a host of factors and vectors coming together to exacerbate seasonal allergies and tree sex and gender are far more complex, we learn via the always excellent Kottke people experience outsized hay-fever and respiratory responses in part in America at least (and there’s surely counterpart problems created unintentionally elsewhere) because of a misguided appeal to urban planners decades ago to line the streets with greenery exclusively of the male variety, reasoning that then we could dispense with messy blossoms, fruits and pods that female tree would produce.
Not that trees were not incorporated into cities and sidewalks prior to the 1940s—but many of the stately, oldest residents had been blighted with the outbreak of Dutch Elm disease when production demands of World War II made the usual quarantine process that kept the pests at bay infected all American elms—and the reforestration effort was thought out along more deliberative but short-sighted lines, perhaps tidier and have a certain aesthetic like our ridiculous, manicured lawns but unbalanced with row upon row of bachelor trees spewing out too much pollen and making us noticeably suffer. What do you think? Sexism in the plant kingdom is not the same as the attitude that excludes women from medical studies and clinical trials as they are deemed unfit control subjects and most treatment and dosage comes from a pointedly male perspective but has consequence nonetheless.  I wonder what the second- and third-tier effects are that we can’t even begin to appreciate.