This week I am celebrating ten years since we arrived in Zambia, so I have planned a week of ‘Ten’ words. Today we have a biological theme.
A class of plants in the Linnaean system with 10 stamens
from Greek deka ten and andros male
This includes plants of the genera Dianthus, Lychnis, Cerastium, Saxifraga, Sedum and Oxalis.
Also there is the related word Decagynia: a class of plants with 10 pistils, such as those from genera neurada or phytolacca.
And, from the animal kingdom, there are Decapoda: an order of higher crustaceans with ten feet, including pincers (includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps and prawns) … or an order of cephalopods with ten arms.
The beauty of our natural world, where ten items create the perfect plant or animal for its environment. It was pointed out to me that most of nature follows the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…), which (you will note) doesn’t include 10. I suggest that the evolution is either two lots of five (most likely for the 10 stamens) or 8 and 2 (legs + pincers for the crab). Or that Fibonacci does not perfectly mirror nature .
And, finally for today, even chemistry gets its ‘ten’ word: decane, being a hydrocarbon (C10H22) tenth of the methane series.
Or more beautifully:
On Wednesday: tens in a literary context
In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree is available for kindle from Amazon for 77p in the UK or $1.17 in the US until 22 June 2013.