Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wild Basil and Buzzing Bees

This is a volunteer Basil that could be a variety of Ocimum basilicum or more likely Ocimum thyrsiflora, Thai Basil. It grows wild in the dry forest where I first collected it many years ago. It is a small shrubby perennial turning green with the winter rains. Under cultivation it is an attractive plant with purplish burgundy blooms that attracts a lot of beneficial insects.

I can sit and watch for minutes at a time all the flying insect species that are attracted to this plant. This evening there was even a field mouse up in the top of the plant gathering seeds. It was not in the mood to be filmed.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

That wild basil brings back memories of warm summer days (the ones with nice low humidity).

It's a good thing the mouse went away. I just read the other day that the fleas on the mice in South Maui right now can transmit a flu-like (rarely fatal, though) illness. Here's the address for one of the news articles about it:

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

The mouse didn't go far and it is far from alone. I have been seeing them all over the garden in the last two weeks.

After it rains and the mountain turns green they breed like crazy with all the fresh green grass and water. Then when the mountain dries up and the grass turns brown they start coming down the mountain to the green irrigated city of Kihei. It happens every year. There are bad years and average years. This year the mountain turned brown early.

Now that it has rained again the whole process can repeat itself.

Cats, rats, mice, fleas, toxoplasmosis oocytes, poop and pee, goo and slime. It is a miracle of my hardy peasant stock that I am still alive and healthy. And we can't forget the mosquitos and Dengue Fever.

I would imagine that my immune system works overtime.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I smiled when I read what you said about your 'hardy peasant stock'. I've often thought that about myself too, since -- like you -- I've never had any health problems and have managed to stay in the same physical shape I was in during my teenage years.

However, some less hardy genes must have snuck in there somewhere along the line -- as I cannot tan (just sunburn, peel, repeat) and overall don't tolerate direct sunlight well. One of my brothers is very sensitive to the sun just like me, but otherwise he's in excellent health too. My sister and my other two brothers are lucky like you -- in that they can be out in the sun all day long without feeling weak, plus they all tan well even though they're blond(e?).