Plant Taxonomy

According to the dictionary, plant taxonomy is “the science that finds, identifies, describes, classifies, and names plants.”

It’s not our family’s strong suit.

When reviewing the events of the past week, plant life seems to be the organizing trend. On Monday, while playing outside after school, Johnny found some red berries. Thankfully, he brought them to me before consuming them. It gave me the opportunity to share a story from my own childhood. A story which involves outdoor play, mushrooms, and syrup of ipecac. And my twin brothers. Anytime I got into real trouble as a kid, they were always by my side.

Childhood memories are pliable but this is how I remember that fateful afternoon. David, John, and I were outside playing in the backyard circa 1978. I think my friend Chrissy was there too. Anyways, our attention was diverted away from the sandbox to some mushrooms. Tasty little grey morsels growing around some Pyracantha shrubs. I imagine David or John took the first nibble but, eventually, we all began eating them. I don’t exactly recall how Mom found out but I will never forget what happened next. On this patio with the fabulous yellow chairs and swing.

Mom called the four of us over to the table, ladled a dose of syrup of ipecac into four spoons, and instructed us to swallow. We had no idea what was coming as we waited. Eventually all four of us began regurgitating the offending, potentially poisonous fungi. Over and over again. I remember Mom sitting at the table with a cup of coffee, green garden hose in hand, spraying off the ground. Cool as a cucumber. She didn’t need to scold us. Lesson learned, literally in the gut. I have never foraged for food again, trusting only what I find in the produce section of a grocery store or farmer’s market. As I told Johnny this story, his eyes grew wide. He put the wild berries down and came inside, opting for an apple instead.

Later in the week, my gaze turned towards the sky. I’ve been watching a tree for the last several months, waiting for it to leaf out. Eventually, it became obvious that the tree was dead. I hesitated to have it removed, knowing it would not be cheap. But a quick call to our insurance company gave me the necessary motivation. Apparently dead trees are not covered under our homeowner’s insurance. Therefore, if the tree were to fall on our home or our neighbor’s home, the company would not cover any damage. Time to pay someone to yell “TIMBER!”

Mario and his crew arrived early Saturday morning. They made quick work of the project and ended up removing three dead trees. Johnny was fascinated to watch the men shimmy up the tree carrying chainsaws. Inspired by this, he ran around to the backyard and climbed a tree himself, barefoot and still wearing his pajamas. Thankfully we don’t own a chainsaw.

The final entry in today’s plant taxonomy lesson occurred last night. Josephine and Mary Frances had run a few errands and done a little shopping. At dinner, they talked about their adventures. They were excited to have snagged some cute crew socks. In bright colors. With a botanical pattern. Mary Frances gave us a fashion show. I thought the socks were adorable. But Sam reserved his praise pending a closer inspection. He asked Mary Frances to bring him the packaging. And then informed our daughters that they had bought socks depicting the marijuana plant.

They are going back.

7 thoughts on “Plant Taxonomy

  1. The socks are hilarious!!! Great shopping girls!!! 😂

    Seems Johnny was listening to your horror mushroom story.

    I didn’t know homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage from a fallen dead tree. Good to know!

    I love your stories. I can’t think of anyone else I know who has such good ones to tell! 😁


    • Oh another connection…..
      My 16 yr old grandson also found these “ nature- themed socks” as we were birthday shopping together.
      My daughter realized they would NOT be allowed in school and they were promptly returned:)


  2. 😂😝🤣 FYI:do not, I repeat, do NOT ask your father to cut down a tree
    (remind him of the tree in our back yard in Atlanta-circa 1959/60-
    when your Gramma & I were left-litterally left-holding the #!*% rope)
    love, Aunt Cynthia☘


  3. 😂😂😂 How hilarious each of those stories were! You had us rolling on the floor! A pity about the socks: a peek at that sliver of the fiber content label appears to indicate they were 80% cotton, which is hard to come by these days. Organic too, I’m sure!


  4. As always love to hear your stories Kathleen
    The flower arrangement looks like my birthday one. So pretty. Thank you very much I enjoyed it so much. Will get you your vase back to you. One of these days
    Happy Labor Day


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