Plants & Philos

Posted in Figuratively Speaking at 10:51 am by Marion


Today, we look at the Greeks and science.

So many of our scientific terms come from Greek it’s hard to know where to start. Being a tree lover, let’s look at our trees.

A heliophyte is a sun-loving plant or tree, such as the pine, cedar or cherry. It comes from helio, which is Greek for “the sun.” It is added to phyte, which means plant.

There are plenty of other words that build on the Greek helio. We have heliocentric, which was the radical theory that the planets revolve around the sun. (Heresy!)

We also have heliogram, which is a cool term for a message send by a mirror reflecting sunlight. You can send one of these messages with a heliograph.

Did you know that we live in the heliosphere? That’s the region of space, including the entire Solar System, in which solar wind has a significant influence.

So back to our plants. Our wonderful green friends all tend to grow toward the sun a trait known as heliotropism. I’ll never forget the science fair project someone did in the fifth grade — they grew plants upside down, still aiming for the sun.

As the Greeks might say, there’s good reason to be a phytophile, phyte for plant, philos Greek for “loving.” With courage like theirs, how can you not love plants?

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