Thursday, 15 May 2014

Chlorophilia

The green of young Beech leaves is my favourite colour; in this case on Fagus sylvatica 'Prince George of Crete'
Driving to the arboretum this morning I was fortunate to catch a portion of  Melvyn Bragg's  In Our Time, on Radio 4, a discussion programme in the finest Reithian tradition of intelligent broadcasting that is always worth listening to, however abstruse the subject.  Today's topic was photosynthesis, the reaction in plant cells catalysed by chlorophyll that captures energy from sunlight and creates the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, characterised by the memorable formula:

                              light
6CO2 + 6H2O = C6H12O6 + 6O2
                      chlorophyll

As with all the many hundreds of previous episodes, this programme is available from the In Our Time webpage, a perennially fascinating resource.

In the course of the discussion one of the panellists mentioned the word chlorophilia, defining it as a love of all things green, an emotion I am happy to confess to, and very topical at present as the countryside clads itself in the fresh greens of spring. However, verifying my references, I find that the word has been consigned to the trash can that is the Wikipedia Knowledge Dump, a blog that 'rescues' rejected Wikipedia articles. The gloss certainly comes off the word with this definition:

"Chlorophilia (Greek: chloros pale green + philia love) is a physical or sexual attraction to plants, particularly trees. The term was coined by journalist Bill Hoss in 2004 to describe scientists who take on an attraction towards Bonsai trees.
Overview: Although Chlorophilia is practiced little in the world, Chlorophilia is sometimes attributed to activities like tree-hugging, or an over-the-top interest in Gardening. There are no laws that ban Chlorophilia in any country in the world."

So I'm happy to confess to loving the colour green, but don't dare call me a chlorophiliac.


Green should be the predominant colour in the garden, the foil against which other colours make a contrast, in this case Rhododendron aberconwayi in Ray Wood this morning.

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