Sunday, 6 April 2014

Lantana camara

"Lantana camara", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Lantana camara is a species of flowering plant within the verbena family, Verbenaceae.  It is native to the American tropics. 

L.camara has spread from its native areas in Central and South America to around 50 different countries where it has become, in some places, an invasive species. It spread from the Americas into the rest of the world when it was brought back to Europe by Dutch explorers and cultivated widely; soon spreading into Asia and Oceania where it established itself as a notorious weed. 

According to Wikipedia, L.camara will often out-compete other more desirable species, leading to a reduction in biodiversity. It can also cause problems if it invades agricultural areas as a result of its toxicity to livestock as well as its ability to form dense thickets which if left unchecked can greatly reduce the productivity of farm land. 

The name Lantana derives from the Latin word Viburnum, which is a genus whose flowers closely resemble Lantana.  I am uncertain as to the exact reason for the use of "camara". I do know that Câmara (meaning "chamber") is a common surname in Portugal and Brazil, including famous people from both these countries. Its use may refer to one of these -- especially some of the early explorers.   

Lantana camara with berries

The fruit of L.camara is berry-like and turns a deep purple colour when mature. 

Up to 12,000 “berries” can be produced by each plant which are then eaten by birds and other animals. They, in turn, can spread the seeds over large distances, facilitating the spread of L.camara.  While the plants are considered toxic to certain animals (see following paragraph), there is still some debate as to whether the ripe berries are poisonous to mammals, including humans.  I would really rather not take a chance on them, however!

The entire L.camara plant is known to be toxic to livestock such as cattle, sheep, horses, dogs and goats. The active substance causing toxicity in grazing animals is pentacyclic triterpenoids which results in liver damage and photosensitivy (sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation, especially light; abnormal sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet light, usually following exposure to certain sensitizing chemicals and resulting in accelerated burning and blistering of the skin).

As for other uses, L.camara stalks have been used in the construction of furniture such as chairs and tables; however, the main uses have historically been medicinal. Studies conducted in India have found that Lantana leaves can display antimicrobial, fungicidal and insecticidal properties. L.camara has also been used in traditional herbal medicines for treating a variety of ailments, including cancer, skin itches, leprosy, rabies, chicken pox, measles, asthma and ulcers. Perhaps I should try some of these Lantana leaves on my ulcers!

To me, this plant will always be associated with Florida.  During the years I lived there as a child and on my many, many visits there while my sister, Betty, was alive, I would see these flowers everywhere.  Not only were they in cultivated gardens, but I would find "escapees" along any back road that I wandered in search of flowers, fauna, reptiles and amphibians.  The bright colours of the flowers always made me feel happy for some reason.

I have done two previous drawings of Lantana.  If you are interested, these can be found in the postings of January 11, 2009 and August 11, 2009.



Suki's most recent ploy to try to get me to
give her extra portions of her favourite food!
Suki is nothing if not clever when it comes to trying to get me to weaken and take her off the diet the vet has put her on!

Here you see an example of her latest attempt to get me to feel sorry for her.  I told her that I thought the crutches were sufficient and that the orange-coloured cast was just a bit too much!  

What next ... a kitty cat wheelchair?  I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Seriously, Suki's illness has not been easy on either of us.  She no longer sleeps as well even when she has been given both the anti-inflammatory as well as the opioid prescribed.  When she doesn't sleep, she thinks it must be time to eat.  So, now she tries to awaken me more frequently than ever during the night.  

The result is that neither one of us ends up getting enough sleep during the night. While Suki makes up for her lack of sleep by taking numerous short naps throughout the day, I, on the other hand, do not!  If I do allow myself to nap, then I have even more trouble getting to sleep at bedtime.  If I can't get to sleep at bedtime, then my legs starts to act up.  The longer I go without falling asleep, the worse my legs become and then I can end up not getting any sleep at all! Thankfully, this is only happening every other night or so at this time.

So far we seem to be managing.  I do know that I am going to have to find some better arrangement, however, for settling this sleep issue. Closing Suki up in another room is not the answer as she seems to have an unlimited capacity to cry for hours at a time, non-stop! How can I possibly sleep when I can faintly hear Suki piteously crying in the next room?  And even worse, if I allow her to cry for too long, she then starts knocking things to the floor in an effort to get me to let her out!  

I have considered doping her up at night -- saving all her meds for bedtime -- but I certainly don't want to do anything that would cause her to become more ill.  I plan to give the vet a call tomorrow and see what he recommends.  She certainly does deserve to have her pain managed properly and we both deserve to get a good night's sleep on a fairly regular basis once again.

As for the update on my eyes that I promised to give you, there is still not a whole lot to tell.  I saw the specialist at the hospital on Monday.  He was concerned enough to order a CT scan.  The scan was done on Friday afternoon and so now I am awaiting the results. I asked the technician if she saw anything, but you know how tight-lipped those technicians about whatever they see on those pictures  -- understandably so, I guess.  I am sure that if anything of significance has shown up, the specialist will contact me within a few days -- he is a really good doctor (he is the one who did the surgery on my eyes this time last year).

Otherwise, there is nothing new to report -- all my other problems continued unabated.  Thankfully, I do not have any medical appointments scheduled for the coming week!  Any week now that is free of visits to the doctor seems to me to be something like a holiday.  And, with the weather gradually improving day by day, it may soon even begin to feel like holiday time!  What a happy thought that is.    



The Gospel reading for this Sunday is taken from the Gospel according to St. John, chapter 11, verses 1-45.  This is the account of the "raising of Lazarus" who had already been dead for four days when Our Lord arrived!  I can really understand why Martha was so concerned about Our Lord's order to "roll the stone away".

There is a portion of this Gospel that I have always loved:  the exchange between Martha and Our Lord prior to their going to the tomb of Lazarus.  In fact, I have told my family that when the day comes for my own funeral Mass, this is the Gospel selection I desire. Following is the actual passage I am referring to: 
"When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  Jn 11: 20-27
What wonderful words:  "...whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, will live..."

I only have one icon dealing with these three siblings from Bethany in whose home Our Lord always felt welcome.  The icon, below, shows Our Lord in conversation with the sisters, Mary and Martha. I do have an uncompleted icon of the raising of Lazarus from the tomb which, for some reason, I have never yet been able to complete... I'm not sure why.  Perhaps the Spirit will move me to finish it in the days ahead.

At any rate, here is the one icon I did in 2012 showing Our Lord in conversation with Mary and Martha...

"I am the Resurrection and the Life", icon by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

May the peace of the Lord be with us all and, in these final days of the Lenten Season, may we be ever more open to the "Resurrection and the Life".  Amen.


Deb said...

I'm sorry to read that Suki is ill, too. Poor little thing! I hope she starts to sleep better at night, so you can sleep too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sallie: Just had a look at your blog entry of today, and saw your remarks on today's Gospel, and as well, I just listened to Fr. Chris's homily of today from his blog. (I didn't hear it in church, because I attended a Mass in which one of his Basilian brothers preached.) In any event, as the homily deals with this Gospel and the subject of Christian suffering. . .well, who should I think of but you?!

So, if you are so inclined, just click on

Do hope you will find a way to get some sleep, and also that Suki isn't feeling more pain than she admits to - as you know, our feline friends are so adept to masking their pain - they are real stoics in that respect.

Have a good night!