East London Nature
The first picture on this page starts us where it all begins – with a questioning mind; a child asks her grandfather “Why do bees visit flowers, Grampsy”? The picture at the bottom of this page takes us to where such questions are formally answered – in school. The subsequent pages give us some of the answers that we seek.
We are told that the ancients believed that every living thing received a secret name, which enshrined its very being. These were their true names; names only to be revealed to the trusted few. For, to know such a name, was to gain a bond with, a profound knowledge of, and a power with – or even over – the bearer.
Plants have ‘common’ names, which differ from place to place. For example, the plant that we call Common Viper’s Bugloss in England, is called Common Snake Head in Denmark. However, like all living things, this plant also has a ‘secret’ name, which is its true name and therefore is the same wherever you find it. That name is Echium vulgare L.
The ‘L’ stands for Linnaeus, Carl Linnaeus, the great Swedish botanist. He gave most living things their true name. It was given in a universally used language, Latin. And we, today, wherever we live in the world, if we want to truly know a plant, can discover that name. The first ‘biological brain map’ in the following pages will start you on your quest for the names of all living things.
The other ‘brain maps’ that follow tell us how our life together – plants, animals and humans – affects each of us. Others show us how much of our inner life we have in common, and how much we differ. (The menu that will take you to these ‘brain maps’ is at the top of this page)
The maps are diagrammatic and are usually sufficiently explanatory to require a minimum of previous knowledge and little further reading. However, the information is dense, and each page will call for concentrated thought and reflection.