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Keith Richards: Flower killer?

by webdev

December 30, 2010

Legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards may want to consider sending some I'm sorry flowers to the New York Public Library.

The infamous rocker is accused of killing an expensive orchid plant known as a Phalaenopsis amabilis while visiting the library back in October.

According to the Guardian, Richards was appearing at the library to read from his recent memoir, Life. While he was waiting backstage in an office, Richards apparently smoked a cigarette and opened a window.

When a library official went to get him, he extinguished the cigarette in the plant's clay saucer.

Four days later, the plant's 12 white flowers tumbled from the stem, according to the news source. A posting on the library's blog said, "between the cold and the smoke, the little orchid never stood a chance."

The Phalaenopsis amabilis, also known as the moon orchid, is one of the easiest orchids to grow, according to The flowers also make excellent orchid corsages to add a touch of warmth to a winter outfit. 

However, reports that individuals caring for moon orchids should be careful to avoid direct sunlight as well as cold drafts when caring for the plants. The website also recommends that an air purifier be used in areas where the flowers are kept.

A posting on says that research has found that plants can suffer from second hand smoke, just like humans can.

"The problem lies in the contents of the smoke. I doubt that formaldehyde, arsenic and several other equally nasty chemicals, are a benefit to any living organism!" a blogger on the website wrote.

The New Yorker points out that the temperature on the day when Richards visited the library was 52 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not exactly cold.

Horticulturist and orchid expert Steve Frowine told the magazine that although the smoke and the cool air might have caused the orchid plant to lose its flowers, it probably isn't dead.

"If placed in a warm, bright spot it should bloom again within a year," Frowine told the news source.

Library officials say that they doubt Richards intentionally harmed the orchid. They called him "very much a gentleman" and nothing at all like a "devilish rock star," according to the Guardian.

He even autographed the plant's clay saucer that he used as an ashtray.

"He extinguished the cigarette in the sign of the cross and signed it, 'Thanks, Keith Richards, 2010,'" the deputy director of the library's Cullman Centre for Scholars and Writers, Marie d'Origny, said.


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