Friday Photos: Chestnuts

There are two totally different kinds of trees commonly called Chestnut. In the genus Castanea are several species that produce edible nuts. Pictured below is a nut, still in the husk, of Castanea mollissima x dentata, a hybrid between Chinese Chestnut and American Chestnut.


In a totally separate genus, Aesculus, is a number of tree species that go by the common name Horse-chestnut, whose nuts are anything but edible. Also known as Red Buckeye, pictured below is a couple of seeds, still in the husk of Aesculus pavia.


While still in their husks, still hanging on the tree, each kind of Chestnut is easily distinguished from the other, but once they have left their context of origin, you have to be very careful. One must look very closely to tell the two apart. It is very important to do so, as eating the wrong nut could do great harm.
That is the beauty of the binomial naming system of genus and species, invented by Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Names mean something, and they mean the same thing today that they did a couple of hundred years ago, and they will still mean the same thing a hundred years hince, if the Lord tarries.
Wouldn’t it be nice if words held that precise quality in church matters for more than a decade, words like evangelical, fundamentalist, and Calvinism. We think we have a cute device that makes it all work, namely by adding prefixes such as pre-, post-, and hyper-. If the label doesn’t fit any more, because the object has changed, you just adjust the label; post-evangelical, for instance. Surely there is a better way. Like when something changes, you call it something else. It is kind of like sufixing every policical scandal in the last thirty years with -gate. Somebody give me some aspirin, my head hurts.
Check out all of the really fine photos at the Friday Photo Group.

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