Sunflowers America's Golden Daisies of the Sun Alan M. Kapuler "In the spring and summer mornings, the sunflowers face east. Responding to the renewal of fertility that occurs each day with the rising of the sun and the warming up of the insects, the golden daisies that cross the North American continent from sea to shining sea open their petals, mature their pollen, extend their stigmas and welcome the rainbow light that streams from our star. The spinning of Gaia, the planetary living organism that is home to uncounted millions of living species of organisms lets us see the sunlight for only half a day. But the sunflowers know where and when it arises, daily celebrating the results of sprinkled cosmic dust like seeds in an infinite and mysterious cosmos. "
"Along the banks of the world's largest river and its tributaries grow the few living relics representative of another age in the biology of this earth. Before the forests were cut, reduced and eliminated, a well-defined yet raucous medley of living organisms had survived billions of years of uninterrupted growth and differentiation leading to an amazing and conceptually overwhelming abundance of kinds of living organisms. The density of the diversity in some ways reflects the success of evolution, in providing a maximum of variation given a changing environment and the continual reality of the unknown and the unexpected. Shrubby many-stemmed trees 3-5 times the height of a person with fragrant flowers coming out of their stems and trunks with a peculiar fanlike branching pattern and elongated softball-sized pods filled with almond like seeds embedded in a sweet limey-white juicy pulp could be seen in some of the seasonally flooded banks along the river whose mouth is more than 300 miles across. Aeons of people came to the forest, some found out that the fermented seeds that came from the cacao trees, made a delicious drink when mixed with the sweet fruit juices. The mild euphoria conveyed by the drink became legendary. Seeds from the most productive, vigorous and tasty-seeded trees were carried to other areas in the tropics. As the trees spread, they found themselves neighbors to relatives with whom they were reproductively compatible. Cross-pollination by biting midges that propagate in the decaying fruit gave rise to new kinds. The best became popular, established in plantations worldwide in the warmer, wetter zones of the world. Intensive demand for the growth promoting substances in the seeds of these tropical trees led to over demands on production, giving rise to short cuts in agricultural production which involved using synthetic fertilizers and chemically toxic pesticides leading to disease and productivity problems."