Friday, 13 November 2009

Heliconia or Helliconia?


Heliconia or Helliconia? I am sure that most of you really don't care which I use so long as I explain what I am talking about!

Well, the drawing above is of a plant called Heliconia -- I will use the "one L" version since it seems to have the most "votes" in the literature. As for the name I have given the drawing, I am going to call it by one of the plant's nicknames which I really like: "lobster-claws".

The Family name is Heliconiaceae; the Genus is Heliconia; the Species is Heliconia pendula. The "pendula" part of the species name is where we get another common name for the plant of "Hanging Heliconia".

There are actually between 100 to 200 species of Heliconia. In fact, I am presently working on another, quite different-looking, Heliconia drawing. I really like Heliconia pendula though as it is so striking with it bright colours, big leaves and large bracts.

Heliconia is named after Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology. The plants are native to the tropical Americas and the Pacific Ocean islands west to Indonesia. In fact, some of you may have even seen the plant during your holiday travels to the Caribbean.

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I had a very interesting day during which I was back in a classroom again after all these years -- but as a student, not a teacher! I was busy learning some new software which runs on Safari, an Apple platform which also can work in a PC.

I am participating in an Asthma Study through St. Michael's Hospital during which 8 asthma patients (including me) and 8 health care professionals who treat asthma patients are going to be designing a form for use by family doctors and specialists who treat asthma patients. I find the whole prospect very exciting.

Our group is the last of three groups to have worked on this project. After our submission, then the professionals will probably finish things off as they see best -- but we will have had our input and that is important to me. Hopefully, we can make a real difference in the way asthma patients are taught to take care of themselves.

I hope you had a happy Friday the 13th and that any black cats that may have crossed your path were friendly!

May peace be with you all.

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