Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dry Season

Puerto Rico dry season  is approximate, and lasts from around November to the end of April.  This year we had a nice amount of rain until the end of December.  The mountains stayed green.

 But now we're in the dry season.  Plants and grasses are wilting and folks are setting fires.  Few folks worry about global warming.

I think fires are set to rid of annoying plant called Pica Pica (literally "itch itch")  Pica Pica is also called the velvet bean.  A bean pod encased in fine fiber-glass like hair that is really annoyingly itchy, if you touch it.

But you don't have to touch it.  A strong gust of wind will carry some of the hairs  and deposit them on your window screen, bookshelves, the floor, anywhere dust comes in.  If you walk barefoot around the house and not clean your feet, you bring these fibers to bed with you, and they manage to crawl all over your legs.
The itch is annoying.  It's not the kind of itch you relieve by scratching.  It keeps itching after you stop scratching.  After about 15 minutes it goes away.  I've had to take it down from my trees in my backyard.
The only things locals have told me is that these pods are often used in pranks.  But, a net search revealed this plant is used medicinally in other cultures and has many uses including:
  • Raising testosterone and thus libido
  • Lowering blood sugar 
  • Lowering blood pressure (Doesn't viagra raise libido and blood pressure?)
  • Many other uses can be found this website: Rain Tree Nutrition
Perhaps knowing more about Pica Pica can encourage folks to collect it instead of burning the country side.

Rincon PR

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