Tuesday, January 12, 2010
There was a thin sheet of ice on the Anacostia River Monday morning
Now beds of coarse mulch made from our own recycle surround the plantings where weedy undergrowth had flourished. Ampelopsis, Celastrus (not the good one!), and Japanese honeysuckle had completely covered this willow last year. Three people or 4? spent half the morning freeing this plant. From this point onward if we can stay on top of the maintenance, we won't have to spend much time to keep the area under control. By we I mean, of course, Nathan.
Common names are funny. Some plants have long standing common names that arose naturally from regular people, not botanists or horticulturists, referencing the plant in day to day conversation. Those names may not be as scientifically unambiguous as a Latin binomial, but they at least they have a level of linguistic validity. Linguistic validity lacking in those common names that were made up because there was no common name. Often these "made up names" are simply a translation of a common name, hence Aventius windfallii becomes Avent's windfall. Anyway my point was going to be that this plant, Salix chaenomeloides, seems to have, on its own, acquired the very reasonable common name of "Giant Pussy Willow". My feeling is that this is a mixed blessing forcing a sort of self-limitation on its uses in the florist's market. Yes, it is a spectacular plant when the buds open, but the buds themselves, giant and red, are wonderfully useful in winter holiday arrangements.
Posted by ChrisU at 6:08 AM