Trypophobia inducing seed head of sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Arnold Wilkins, professor in psychology at the University of Essex, who sought permission to reproduce the above image of a lotus seed pod in a scientific publication on trypophobia. I had never heard about trypophobia before but a quick investigation revealed that the term was coined recently, combining the Greek trypo (punching, drilling, or boring holes) and phobia (an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something). Research on trypophobia is still limited and the condition is not recognized in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Still, thousands of people claim to be fearful of objects with small holes, such as beehives, ant holes, and lotus seed heads. There's even a website dedicated to trypophobia with loads of pictures of stuff with holes in it. Trypophobia is also called repetitive pattern phobia.
I always found my lotus seed pod image nothing but beautiful and couldn't (still quite can't) understand that a picture like this would cause anxiety in anybody. Anyway it will soon appear in an academic article on trypophobia and I'll bring an update when it's published.
I know it's entirely unscientific but I set up the poll below to get a better understanding of how many people are actually disturbed by the sight of the lotus seed head:
The image originally appeared in a post on Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Saturday, September 05, 2009
As is evident from several posts on this blog I enjoy visiting botanical gardens whenever I have the chance. Spending part of my summer vacation in New York City it was natural to visit one of the city's gardens.
I went to the New York Botanical Garden a couple of years ago so this time around I wanted to have a look at one of the other botanical gardens in the NYC area. Unfortunately not all of my household are as enthusiastic about spending time in botanical gardens as I am, but I managed to lure “She Who Must Be Obeyed” into going to Brooklyn Botanic Garden using a visit to the DUMBO district in Brooklyn as a bait ;-)
Steinhardt Conservatory and the Lily Pool Terrace
Sights in the garden include a number of specialty “gardens within the garden” and the Steinhardt Conservatory that houses several climate-themed plant pavilions. Our visit fell on a very hot day with temperatures soaring above 30 C (~90 degrees Fahrenheit) and it was great to leave the confinement of the city behind for a few hours. That being said several areas of the garden gave a somewhat untended, dilapidated impression, as for example the rock garden where the outdoor cactus bed seemed at serious risk of being completely taken over by weeds.
The Desert Pavilion
Inside the Steinhardt Conservatory the Desert Pavilion houses plants from arid regions in both the Old and New World. I don't know if the heat made me grumpier than usual because I didn't find the Desert Pavilion particularly impressive either; the plants in the collection are rather ordinary, and worse, some show signs of neglect – also, an Ariocarpus fissuratus had either rotted away, been dug up, or somehow else gone missing, but even without a sign of the plant in question the tag announcing it was still left in the soil.
It didn't add to the experience that the garden's outdoor cafeteria, catering to the herd of weekend visitors, was deep-frying stuff and the resulting nauseating fumes were billowing into the hot greenhouses making them a rather unpleasant place to be.
The Desert Pavilion from a different angle
Outside the Steinhardt Conservatory lies the Lily Pool Terrace with two large pools that are planted with nearly 100 varieties of hardy and tropical water-lilies (Nymphaea species) and sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) cultivars.
Flowering hardy water-lily (Nymphaea sp.)
I am developing a thing about water-lilies and lotus so I ended up spending quite a while enjoying the different flowers and the distinctive lotus seed pods.
Sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) seed pod
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden also houses the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum that, according to the BBG's home page, is considered one of the finest bonsai collections in the world and is the second largest on public display outside Japan. Some of the trees in the collection are well over a century old.
Bonsai Pinus parviflora, informal upright style
I don't know much about bonsai but have to admit that the dwarfed trees are quite fascinating.
Bonsai Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii, driftwood style
The garden is easily accessible by subway – take the 2 or 3 train and get off at the Eastern Parkway – Brooklyn Museum station and walk right in.
In conclusion, if in New York City and having an urge to visit a botanical garden I would opt for the New York Botanical Garden - on the other hand I have not visited Queens Botanical Garden yet so I might end up giving that a chance also ;-)
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