I LOVE PAPYRUS

Bought a little bunch of what is called  “umbrella plant” around here many years ago.  Hate that name.  Why would such an important member of nature, resplendent with history, of incalculable value to mankind in the early days, be called something so mundane?

papyrus

As my first teacher in the garden promoted, you must learn the Latin.  If you know the correct names, you can talk to anybody about the plant.  “Umbrella plant” surely does not add to the wealth of knowledge this plant reveals, and the common name will not be useful to people from different cultures.

Of course, the Egyptians made paper from papyrus, used until more stable raw materials were discovered.  This brings to mind the great library in Alexandria, destroyed in a civil war under the Roman Emperor Aurelian, and the “daughter” library again destroyed in 391.  Here was stored the accumulated knowledge of mankind on papyrus scrolls.  I wonder where we would be now had that not happened.  What have we missed?

One cannot think about the Egyptians and their library without the Ptolemy family, and Cleopatra.  What a life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9zfYur_EGQ

Very strangely played by an overweight Liz Taylor, Cleopatra is herself rolled up like a scroll as she invades the premises which were once hers.

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But I digress.  What is so wonderful about papyrus?  Knowing almost nothing about this stuff, it is amazing to think that this plant can be propagated from both ends.  Divide the root clump, or put the little leaf part in water.  Either way.  From the little plant purchased years ago, I have given much away, created very dramatic and huge arrangements, and have it placed in areas all around the acreage.

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One such area is around our outdoor shower.  Papyrus likes water, but can thrive without a huge amount of it.  Noticed the other day that in that area where it does get a lot of water, a whole new stalk is growing out of the “umbrella” of the mother!

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