Among Amazonian mestizos, the world is often viewed in terms of male and female, macho and hembra. Not only animals but also plants — even inanimate objects — appear in both male and female forms; rain, for example, can be male or female, depending on the force with which it falls; if a plant species has two varieties, one with thorns, the one with thorns is considered male. The plant mucura, for example, considered by botanists to be a single species, Petivera alliacea, is held by mestizos to have a male form with round leaves and a female form with elongated leaves. The red huayruro seed is considered to come from the female and the red-and-black huayruro seed from the male form of the same plant, which botanists consider to be two different species in the genus Ormosia. What mestizos consider the male and female forms of the buceta plant, the female of which is widely used in love magic, are classified by botanists in different genera entirely — Anthurium and Xanthosoma respectively.
PERMALINK to: Classifying Plants
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