There is a concept ‘out there’ that real life isn’t real at all. It is all in our imaginations and there is some kind of over-spirit that melds the various imaginings from, not just people , but animals, trees and plants too, so the real life we see is actually the result of the sort of slush that comes from the mixing and melding process.

I sometimes think I’ve dropped through into that slush when Google and I are prodding around, looking for something that might interest you. Today’s photo is of Knapweed – the Common or Black variety.  It’s name comes from its resemblance to a hammer. These days, knapping means flint, arrow heads and other stone tools. Looking to see if the Internet knew anything interesting about knapping led me to Ishi.

In 1911 Ishi caused quite a stir in California when, nearing starvation, he was arrested for stealing food. He had been born in around 1860 and had spent all his life dodging bands of roving ‘Indian hunters’ who had succeeded in wiping out his entire tribe and most of the other tribes he was related to. As he had spent the last forty-odd years in the wilds, living the life that his ancestors had lived, he was completely ‘out of his depth’.

What is now the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology  in Berkeley, California took him in and gave him a job. He lived for another five years, passing on his unique knowledge of the lives and customs of his vanished tribe. Then he succumbed to TB – one of the ‘benefits’ of civilisation..

As well as passing on all that priceless information, he took the time to teach friends and colleagues the right way to knap flint and how to make stone tools that actually work.

Talk about forgiveness.

4 thoughts on “Knapweed

  1. The idea that knapweed is named because of its resemblance to a hammer is fascinating – and the answer to the question I came online to look into – but does it resemble a particular type of hammer as it resembles none I have seen? A hammer for knapping flints perhaps?


    1. Flint is usually knapped with another flint. So, no, I don’t think flint knapping features in the name – it’s most likely it’s just a name because of a passing resemblance to a hammer. Thanks for the comment.


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