A Ross by any other name…

Daucus_carota_May_2008-1_editIn our vegetable garden the other day I was pulling Queen Anne’s lace. Actually there was only one stalk in the entire garden – barely enough lace to make half a hankie. In French, this plant is known as carotte sauvage, which sounds prosaic and possibly anti-imperialist until you remember that Queen Anne’s nickname actually was “Wild Carrot.”

I recognize Queen Anne’s lace when I see it (or maybe it’s yarrow…) but it occurred to me I know very little about Queen Anne, which is a lapse in my knowledge, both historical and botanical. I also wonder whether it was a big deal to have a plant named in your honour back in ye old daye. Was it the equivalent of a modern celebrity having her own line of perfume? If she were alive today, would we all be sniffing Queen Anne’s Kissing Cousins? And the fact that it’s a weed, was that someone’s idea of satire?

These days, celebrities do occasionally sneak into the names of newly discovered plants and animals. There is, for instance, a rare horsefly named Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, named after singer Beyoncé. The horsefly is distinguished by its shiny gold butt. Write your own jokes…

Read more at Life in Quebec…


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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25 Responses to A Ross by any other name…

  1. ksbeth says:

    i am ever-impressed by the name change from ‘prunes’ to ‘dried plums,’ as though people looking at the picture on the front of the package will not realize they are actually prunes. is it to save face if others were to read your receipt or less embarrassing to write on a list? my guess is that as long as your figs aren’t dry, you’re still okay.

  2. Ned's Blog says:

    So you’re saying Jessica Tansy had nothing to do with naming the Tansy weed in Oregon? I guess I can finally pull it without feeling guilty. But I’m not getting anywhere hear the Ross root.

  3. You are named after an herb…Rosemary…for remembrance.

  4. List of X says:

    I think the latest fad is to have a star or planet named after yourself. That’s especially appropriate for some of these human stars with a planet-sized ego.
    P.S. a fun trivia fact about plants being renamed: a kiwi fruit used to be “Chinese gooseberry”. I think the tree is still called that.

  5. kerbey says:

    Nick Nolte’s macramé must go in a million different directions all at once.

  6. markbialczak says:

    You are the first man I’ve ever known who wished to be a tuber, Ross. I don’t know what’s at the root of your dreams, sir. Nice gardening column. I always admire your arid sense of humor.

  7. You can’t use ‘canoodle.’ Here in these parts, that’s a verb.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Here too. But Canadians are idiots.
      Just after I hit send on this piece, I read that Burger King is trying to take over Tim Hortons coffee joints in Canada. Naturally, everyone’s hit the cultural panic button. Like it matters who profits from our unrelenting need for fat and caffeine. Did I mention Canadians are idiots?

  8. cat9984 says:

    Congratulations. Made it all the way to the last sentence without a horrible pun. 🙂

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