Of Chestnut Blossoms, Poplar Sex, and Stalin
On the way to Tein Li Chow saw several chestnut trees growing by the water treatment plant. You can tell chestnuts easily from a distance by their pyramidal blossoms. The chestnut blossom was the symbol of the city where I was born; chestnut trees lined the boulevards and streets, draping the city in their dark green leaves.
Poplar trees were also common. My dad told me that most of them were planted as part of Stalin's greening campaign before the War. As most things done by the communists, it was a complete disaster. You see, poplar trees come in the male and female variety. For whatever reason, perhaps not realizing this was the case, the communists planted too many females. The consequence of such poor planning is the release, every summer, of a cloud of unfertilized seeds into the air, floating on bits of cotton which cover the city with sticky fluff, to the dismay and annoyance of its inhabitants.
Reading Stalin's Folly right now. More on Stalin later...