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Monday, April 30, 2007

Buds: a promise of new things, part 2

Blueberry bud
The photo above is of buds on a blueberry bush, in our back yard. The photo, itself, should serve as a link to larger versions of the same photo, if you care to look.

In the first part, I quoted all the scripture passages that mention buds. In this one, I shall muse a little about the botany of buds. Here's the Wikipedia article on buds, which probably tells you more about buds than you want to know.

A bud is growth tissue that hasn't grown yet, so it is a promise of new things. Woody plants, especially, do not grow like we do. A human (and vertebrate animals in general) more or less just expands in size as it grows. (The proportions aren't quite exact -- babies have bigger heads, and smaller legs and feet, than an adult, proportionally speaking.) But a tree or a bush doesn't do that. There is a special type of tissue, called meristematic tissue, which accomplishes the creation of new cells for such a plant. Meristematic tissue is localized, not distributed evenly. As a result, most of the growth of a twig is in length, as the meristematic tissue in the terminal bud keeps making new cells, and moving on out as it does. There is some growth in thickness, due to other sets of meristematic cells, but most of the growth is upwards. If you pound a nail in a tree in 2007, and come back in 2010, the nail will be the same distance from the ground, because the tree grows in length at its extremities, rather than simply expanding.

Buds have meristematic tissue in them. When they add new cells, and these cells enlarge and mature, they can become more twig, a leaf, or a flower. The buds in the photo produced blueberry flowers, which reproduced and developed into blueberries. They were good! But they weren't there when the photo was taken.

All of the Biblical references to buds refer, in some way, to new growth. I hope that I am still growing, spiritually and emotionally, if not physically. Perhaps I am a soul in bud.

8 comments:

Aaron said...

Dr. LaBar, I came across a translation of the Bible today as I was searching for study tools I could use. It is called the NET Bible. I don't know if you have heard of it or not, but thought you would be interested if you hadn't because you use a lot of Scripture in you blog.

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=3537

I'll talk more after finals are over. Aaron Tolan

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks. The ESV specifically allows quotation in blogs, provided there is proper attribution, so I use that. I'll check out the NET.

Julana said...

It's so exciting to see buds in the spring. I think we tried a blueberry bush once that died. I got some raspberries from a friend, at our old house, but we moved before getting berries.
I should try again, now that we've settled in here.
That picture brings back memories of berry-picking with my cousins, years ago.

Martin LaBar said...

Well, I'm glad someone gave us this bush. Thanks!

Aaron said...

My husky is chewing up any and all bushes in our yard. We had a blueberry bush, but she chewed that one down to a stub.

Mirtika said...

So, you get to eat "fresh-picked" blueberries? Mmmmm.

Mir

Rhonda said...

Good post.
I'm with you...I hope I'm still growing spiritually and emotionally.
I'll come back to visit.

Thanks.

Martin LaBar said...

Sorry, Aaron. By the way, my next post gives a link to the ESV Bible's copyright policy, which allows for quoting (with a few limitations) for blog and, say, Sunday School, use, without the necessity of getting permission.

Thanks, Rhonda.

Mirtika, we only get to eat fresh-picked blueberries when we are home. Currently, we are baby-sitting three time zones away.