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Friday, May 06, 2005

Plant names, who'da thunk it? 

In searching through a perennial reference book today I was struck by the silliness of some of the plant names I read. Birthwort - it's actually wild ginger, but where the heck did the name come from? I have visions of a big wart being conceived and growing beyond all proportion. How about Saxifrage? Is that anything like supercalifragilistic... you know the rest. It's actually Astilbe.

Some names conjure up visions of walking through flowering meadows like Buttercup family. Some remind me of England, for some reason, like Bellflower family. But the one that really got me chuckling was the Fumitory family. The plant is actually Dicentra or bleeding heart but all I could envision was someone stomping around yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs. There's plenty more where these came from - Spurge, Lizard's Tail, Figwort, Smartweed, Rue (like the gravy), and one of my personal favorites, Madder (madder as a hatter?). Oh well, call them what they will (a rose by any other name and all that) all plants are pleasing in their own way. But when the Dogbane shows up, I'm getting the flea spray. Happy Gardening.

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Thanks to Andrew Stenning who contributed the photograph for our masthead

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