Names are funny things; from the plant kingdom to the animal kingdom, they can be extremely strange. Take the Duck-billed Platypus for instance. When the British scientists first saw a pelt in the late 1700’s, they thought it was a hoax produced by a taxidermist. Looking at a picture, the duck bill part seems pretty obvious. But “platypus” is the Latin version of a Greek word that means broad, wide, flat foot. Can you think of another name that is more descriptive? What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, I guess. Just musing.
Some plants are misnamed, in my humble opinion. I’ll explain with two examples.
Autumn Clematis starts blooming the first of August and is pretty much done before autumn even begins in our area. It is not even the middle of September yet and most of the blooms have already dropped off. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago.
The short time it does bloom, the vine is covered with snowy white small flowers. I read recently that someone hated the smell of them. It is strong but doesn’t seem unpleasant to me. In fact, I think it’s an attribute.
Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) has naturalized in Texas to the point that it is sometimes called a wildflower. But I’ve never seen it in the wild.
It needs to be pruned each winter or it becomes extremely thick. I speak from experience and don’t look forward to cutting it back this winter since I did not do that chore last year.
The patch of white growing in a low spot in the field is Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia marginata). It is a native that provides a freshness in the landscape during the last days of summer. I guess the white does resemble snow on a tall stem, but still seems like a misnomer, at least in our sunny, hot area.
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” Theodore Roosevelt