I think everyone can identify the clover wildflower, but there are many more wildflowers that most of us have never heard of. I don’t know why I find wildflowers so interesting but I do.
Last year, my husband Rolf canoed down the Bow River, landed on an island, and started taking pictures of the wildflowers. You might not consider them “flowers” – you might think they are “weeds”. It’s just a word and the reality depends on your perspective.
So there he is, tracking Water Smartweed, and he trips and drops his camera into the beaver pond. This is sad, because now he needs to buy a new camera. Not only that, he can’t photograph the Water Smartweed.
That was last year. He bought a new camera, a Panasonic Lumix LX5, and he paddled down the river again. And damn, he couldn’t find the Water Smartweed! But, on the other side of the island, he did manage to find Pale Smartweed. This is what it looks like.
Imagine writing a fantasy universe and having to come up with a whole set of names for the vegetation on that world. It could take days of work.
But why bother? Hardly anybody knows what the stuff on this planet is called. Like our neighbour Bruce, who has a few weeds in his alley. Rolf was out there talking to him and telling him what his “weeds” were called. And then Rolf found one he didn’t recognize so he took out his trusty camera and got a photo. After checking four reference books, he discovered it was Prickly Lettuce. This is what it looks like.
I had no idea this was Prickly Lettuce and I’ll bet you didn’t either. So now we both know what it looks like.
This naming of Wildflowers may seem to have no apparent purpose, but it does.
- It’s useful for creating a realistic sounding alternate reality.
- If you are ever on a Game Show, you at least know Something.
- If you have grandchildren, you might impress them.
- And, best of all, it’s a friendly interest in the universe.
How about you? Do you have a favourite weed or wildflower? Can you hardly wait until Rolf can find and photograph the Water Smartweed?
clover from bigstockphoto #229975936