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Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 15:36:33 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) gravity, trees, severian

Here is something that I think is interesting: the Caesalpinia sappan that 
Severian runs into in the Jungle garden is described as 
"Lianas half obscured the entrance, and a great tree, rotted to punk, had 
fallen across the path a few strides away.  Its trunk still bore a small sign: 
Caesalpinia sappan" (Shadow and Claw 123)
It is described as a great tree, yet here is my definition from a botany page:

"- Small tree up to 5 m high with scattered spines. The compound leaves are 50 
cm long, with 20-30 shiny leaflets. Flowers yellow, 2.5
cm in diameter with densely wooly filaments. Fruit is hard,
indehiscent, shiny pod about 7 cm long.
- Widely distributed in the Philippines at low and medium elevations,
often in dry thickets.
- Propagated by seeds and cuttings."

Is there a difference between "Small tree" and "great tree"? or is it just a 
matter of "scale"?
At the beginning of the next chapter Severian says "a new sound - a new voice 
- came from some red world still unconquered by thought".  (Sounds like mars 
or something, doesn't it?) when he describes the cry of the Smilodon.
The jungle garden is quite a bit warmer than the other botanic gardens, but I 
have always assumed this is because it was in the past.
Is there any possibility that the Jungle Garden is not actually on "Urth", but 
is some place else? I don't know.


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