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The Secret Lives of Flowers (minicast)

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Martha muses about the secret lives of flowers in this week’s podcast. She’s been pondering the lexical legacy of Carolus Linnaeus, the great Swedish botanist who nearly 300 years ago was criticized for his fascination with what was a new discovery at the time: The fact that plants reproduce sexually. Prepare to fan yourself as Martha reveals her thoughts about lex and the single flower.

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  • Listening to Martha’s latest podcast, “The Secret Lives of Flowers,” I was wondering the following: Linneaus was highly criticized for the “sexuality” he found in flowers. How about the sexual connotation of the verb “to deflower”? Does it precede Linnaeus’s studies? Is it related to him or his controversial studies in any way?

  • Piotr, the OED says the word “deflower” has been used in that sense since the 14th century. So yes, it precedes ol’ Linnaeus.

  • My question is, why doesn’t Martha get a snazzy background color for her posts? Showboating, Grant?

  • It’s all random, Mark, done by the code. Artiste in the machine or something.

  • Ah, I see it’s the “admin” posts that are in the other color. When Grant posts under his own name, it’s like the other posts.

    Just listened to the podcast. Martha should stay away from the risqué stuff. She gets a bit too much into it.

  • Kurt: Ultimately, yes.

    Marc: As I always say: “Who says etymology isn’t SEXY?”
    (Then again, maybe I need to get out more! 🙂

  • Thanks, Ann. And no need to use the past tense here! We’re already talking with moneyed types who’re determined to ensure (not insure) that the show not only goes on, but is better than ever! So stay tuned through our email newsletter….

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