Real men like flowers…

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And they eat them too!!

If you are an average American male, you probably grew up under the same cultural conditioning as I did. Flowers are for girls, guns and hunting is for guys. If a guy photographs, sketches, studies, or even appreciates flowers, somewhere in our social programming it makes him less manly and I have weathered my share of jesting over the years from the high testosterone crowd.

I have killed wild boar with knives, tracked armed fugitives, and had a couple cage fights, so I feel I have enough “man points” built up to call bullshit. Time to break the shackles of societal conditioning and appreciate our photosynthetic brethren.

Flowers are for everyone, in fact, we depend on flowering plants to live. Roughly 90 percent of the world’s food energy intake comes from just 15 flowering plant crops and most of the meat we dine on was grown by animals munching on flowering plants or their grains.

Food is not the only way that flowering plants keep us alive, as nearly 40 percent of our pharmaceuticals contain constituents originally found in herbs (Elpel). From the wood we build our houses with, to the clothes we wear on our backs, to the fossil fuels that drive our world, our lives have an inseparable connection to the plants around us.

Flowering season is peaking in the Smokies right now and last week I attended and helped lead a few trips at the 64th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage. http://www.springwildflowerpilgrimage.org/ For those unaware, this annual event allows participant to go on guided hikes focusing on wildflower identification. It is not all flowers, all the time, as there are a few mushroom, birding, photography, and salamander trips as well.

I have been eating violet flowers for years, and I learned from my friend and guide  Ila, that they are full of rutin, a flavonoid that promotes capillary strength among other things.

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And what about the redbud flowers from the beginning of the post? Well, those were mixed into some pancake batter and topped with homemade hibiscus syrup made by my wife. Pancakes with a side of Vitamin C!!

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While I will readily admit that my interest in flowers comes from a selfish agenda of practical use, the more I study them, the more I appreciate the non-edible and non-medicinal ones as well.

So, grab a guide book, head outside, and start exploring the wildflower bloom. If Biff Tannen and his posse stroll by to start spewing some macho crap, casually eat your flowers, give them the ‘ole Marty McFly slip and head over to BigPig’s for some flower fueled backup.

 

Resources:

Plants for a Future – http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx

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