Flowery Curses for an Unfaithful Lover

There isn’t much to laugh about, and plenty to curse in Bali these days. Indonesia is the world’s pandemic epicenter with a surging Delta variant. But they’re doing the right thing. Lockdown has just been extended for yet another week.

All this ‘down time’ affords me the luxury of micro-spection – a word I’ve coined to describe the way I observe the very tiny universe that is my current world.

I have the house and garden, sky and clouds, plants, birds, butterflies, and monkeys. (I’ll save those hairy maleficents for another story.)

As a child following Dad through the fields and forests surrounding our farm, I learned the names of trees, weeds, grasses, and flowers. It felt important, and respectful, and matter-of-fact. It was as if they were saying to me, “You live here. You walk among us. Of course you will know our names.”

Moving to Bali opened a new realm of botanical mysteries. Just when I thought I had my garden memorized, look what popped up.

This apparition nestled beneath a giant fern, looked so blatantly incongruous amongst the mundane leaves surrounding it I nearly cried. I’d never seen a fungus even close to the elegance of this queen of mushrooms. She rose from the humble sod standing a good ten inches tall in her spotless white gown.

After photographing the spectacle from all angles, I googled ‘fungi with lacy white dress,’ and there it was: Bridal Veil Stinkhorn.

Bridal Veil seemed an apt description for this stunning presence. But Stinkhorn? Really? Why the shocking slur on a masterful creation? What did this glorious ‘shroom do to deserve that?

One thing leads to another and bored minds wander. A quick search affirmed that botanists possess a diabolical kink in their nature. So many plants have naughty names. In a matter of moments, I’d listed several prime examples. Caught up in the irreverence of my project, I imagined how a jilted lover might find the colorful monikers useful for cursing an unfaithful maiden.

In a cloud of fury he’d yell, “You Bloody Cranesbill Horehound!” Or, “You Stinking Hellabore Barrenwort!”

Then she’d shout back at him, “You Sticky Willy Nipplewort Knobweed!”

I kid you not. Those are labels assigned to innocent members of the plant kingdom!

But hold on…it gets even better. If you consider yourself an intellectual and you find the crude English used above distasteful, get down and dirtier with Latin. Formal nomenclature spares no feelings. I dare you women, next time you don’t relish the attentions of a persistent man, just say this:

“Darling, get your Phallus impudicus

Phallus impudicus

away from my Crassula vaginatus

Crassula vagnatus

before I Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

all over your Narcissus assoanus!

Narcissus assoanus

That’s what happens when I’m denied polite company for weeks on end. I can’t be held accountable. No offense intended.



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diane Struble
    Aug 03, 2021 @ 14:41:21

    Hilarious, Sherry. But I must say some of the shameful names belong to beautiful flowers. How can that be! Well, I guess it can because sometimes shameful names are attached to beautiful humans for one reason or no reason also. Your white fungus is, indeed, beautiful. One day I looked at the edge of my woods when I saw a large white perfectly smooth round shining object about 8 inches in diameter and growing. It too was a fungus and showed up only one year. Glorious. Cheers for our botanical surprises.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. rickerw
    Aug 03, 2021 @ 15:24:56

    Very nice. Where did you grow up?

    Like

    Reply

  3. Henderson Threads
    Aug 03, 2021 @ 21:13:33

    As a Master Gardener, I love this article. Your writing has advanced so much , that I felt like I was reading an old classic. Well done! Sharon

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Anonymous
    Aug 03, 2021 @ 23:21:40

    Always learning. Delightful! SL

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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