The Human Bumblebee
Pollan writes ambiguously. “While [humans] were nailing down consciousness…[plants were] inventing photosynthesis”(Introduction, xix) This implies a contemporaneous relationship, but photosynthesis has been around ever since cells started engulfing other cells. In fact, plants only got their chloroplasts by swallowing up a photosynthetic bacteria (600 million years ago, give or take). Nature has many “alchemists”, and plants are certainly not the oldest (or oddest) among them.
I liked the introduction to John Chapman, Bringer of Alcohol and Sweetness – much more interesting than Johnny Appleseed! I love the idea of the “healthy apple” as simply a shot back at the Prohibitionists. And I always wondered about the planted seedlings vs grafted branches – especially since I’ve never had much luck with grafting myself.
If you liked the reading, I suggest you try Asimov’s “Does A Bee Care?” and “Green Patches”. They are among my favorite Asimov shorts.