FUR, FLAME AMHERSTIA

FUR

Fur is the thick, soft, outside covering of certain animals. The under-layer of fur is downy and close grown. The outer layer, called guard hair is longer. The two together, when dried and ready to be made into clothing are called a pelt. Fur-bearing animals live in nearly every country of the world. In the colder regions, their coast grow heavier and longer. For this reason, furs from North America and Siberia are more popular than others.

North America has the greatest variety of fur-bearing animals and the United States alone has 40 species. The most important of these for Commerce are the Mink, Muskrat, Beaver and Raccoon. Some animals have been nearly killed off just for their furs. To prevent further destruction of these threatened animals, most governments have strict laws to limit the hunting and trapping of fur-bearing creature. Much of the fur used today comes from animals especially grown in captivity on fur farms or ranches. Canada and the United States have many such farms. Furs have been used for warmth since pre-historic times. But , for most of history, furs have been considered a luxury and symbol of wealth.

FLAME AMHERSTIA

Flame Amherstia is a Burmese tree. Botanists consider it to be the most beautiful of all flowering trees of the world. The individual blossoms look like hummingbirds, each mounted on slender, intensely red stalks. They are arranged into long drooping sprays, so that the bird-like flowers stick out beautifully in all directions. The flowers have 5 red petals, 3 large with bobs of gold and the other two minute. They come into bloom from January to March. The leaves are evergreen and resemble those of Ashoka and taper to a fine tip called a drip tip to drain off rainwater quickly. Flame Amherstia is so rare that it is not seen much in  the wild, but is in cultivation in Bengal and Srilanka.

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