Saturday, July 5, 2008

A pair of grass trees

It was the fact, she told me, that the pediment over the door of the School of Public Health and the School of Tropical Medicine in the university had been carved, perhaps a century ago, with those very words – words that connoted the paternal figure of the striding male doctor in pith helmet and breeches – that she couldn’t help thinking about the magnificent plants at the end of the path leading up to it, which have been known variously over the years as ‘black boys’, ‘grass trees’, as well as the faintly off-putting, botanical name of Xanthorrhoea.

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