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Two amazing women who helped bring Puerto Rico's flora to life have now been immortalized with the names of two new, slightly terrifying tree species.

In a paper published Sept. 26, scientists announced a pair of newly discovered Puerto Rican pisonia trees — named after  two overlooked women who made major contributions to our understanding of Puerto Rican natural history.

One of the trees — Pisonia horneae — is named after Frances W. Horne, an American illustrator who created hundreds of watercolor illustrations of Puerto Rico's trees, flowers, and birds. The other — Pisonia roqueae — is named after Dr. Ana Roqué de Duprey, a notable Puerto Rican suffragist and one of the founders of the University of Puerto Rico.


[rebelmouse-image 19476692 dam="1" original_size="378x500" caption="One of Horne's watercolor illustrations. Image by Francis W. Horne/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]One of Horne's watercolor illustrations. Image by Francis W. Horne/Wikimedia Commons.

Both women lived around the turn of the 20th century and both created major botanical works that went unpublished during their lifetimes.

Finding two new species of tree is always big deal. But these trees are also notable for their fascinatingly macabre reputation.

Pisonia are also known as "birdcatcher" trees. Their fruits are covered in a sticky, glue-like substance that will fasten itself to any bird unlucky enough to touch one.

[rebelmouse-image 19476693 dam="1" original_size="640x480" caption="The seeds of Pisonia roqueae. When fully ripe, these pods will transform into a sticky, gooey mess. Image by Jorge C. Trejo-Torres." expand=1]The seeds of Pisonia roqueae. When fully ripe, these pods will transform into a sticky, gooey mess. Image by Jorge C. Trejo-Torres.

The adaptation helps the trees spread their seeds from island to island.

"However, sometimes these fruits can trap too tightly and even kills birds, as seen in documentaries," lead author Marcos Caraballo-Ortiz said in a press release. A particularly harrowing sequence featuring the tree even appeared in the BBC's 2016 run of "Planet Earth II".

"So far, we do not know of cases where birds have been trapped by the sticky fruits of the new species, but future studies will explore this possibility," he said.

Though these trees may seem a bit ghoulish, they're fascinating biological specimens. And any chance to honor both these women and the island's amazing flora is welcome.

"It only seemed natural to name the two new species after these two extraordinary women who spent decades on large educational projects aimed to divulge botanical knowledge in Puerto Rico," said co-author Jorge Trejo-Torres.

"Just like the two large trees remained unrecognised by science until now, the enormous efforts of these two women, who dedicated part of their lives to botanical work, remained largely unrecognised by the community."

Hopefully this gesture will help rectify that.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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