Native Son: Father’s Day Flora

This article is dedicated to all fathers, especially mine. Love you, Daddio!

Gardenia, Jasmine, and dear Sweet Alyssum,
Names so lovely, you surely want to kiss ‘em.
Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley, and oh…so many others,
Plants named with tender care, by our dear sweet mothers.

But dads are different, so you see,
They name their plants indelicately.
Take Eyeball Plant or Warty Birch or even Bladdernut,
Take Beggar’s Lice or Devilwood or a big ol’ Monkey’s Butt,

How about Sourwood, Sour Gum, and a whole bucket of Soursop?
Sweet William, Sweet Cherry, and a golden Lollipop!
Woolley Willow, Woolly Stemmodia, even a Woollybucket,
(Painted myself into a corner here, so I’ll go with “Nantucket.”)

Fathers love berries…
We got your Strawberry, Blueberry, Boysenberry…yum.
Snowberry, Dewberry, Blackberry stains on your thumb.
There’s Male-berry, Mulberry, Goji Berry, and Huckleberry Finn,
Don’t forget Farkleberry, Sparkleberry, and Markleberry…Meghan.

We got your Cowberry, Deerberry, Foxberry, too.
Gooseberry, Pigeonberry, Sheepberry Ewe.
There’s Juneberry, Winterberry, Sapphireberry blue,
Salmonberry, Twinberry, and Mayberry…North Carolin-oo.

Buckeye, Buckthorn, Buckwheat, Buckbeak…Hagrid grins.
Moosewood, Monkeypuzzle, Woadwaxen, Cactus Chins.
Tickle-Tongue, Moustache Nut, and Ears of El-e-phant,
And why are Lion’s Tail and Lion’s Ear the very same plant?

I ponder this mystery with great interest:
How come there’s a Dogwood tree, but no Catwood tree…
unless you look on Pinterest!

Continued Below

Then there’s the weird stuff…
Living Stones and Dead Nettle, the quirky Boojum tree,
Death Apple, Sticky Monkey Flower, and the Crybaby Tree.
Musclewood, Monk’s Hood, Wormwood…oooo!
Leatherwood, Whistlewood, Yellowwood, too.
Bladdernut, Cobnut, Wingnut, Pignut, Rat-eating Pitcher,
Screwbean, Spatterdock, and the Bloody Butcher.

Men insulting other men…
Skunk Cabbage , Winterfat, Stinking Hellebore,
Bastard Cabbage, Skunkbush, Stinking Ash, ‘n more
No good Devilwood, Goathead, Pigface…Giant Hogweed,
Catclaw, Horse Crippler, Strangler Fig, Corn Cockle…indeed!.

And then there’s the mushrooms…
Shameless Stinkhorns, Bleeding Tooth, and the gnarly Dead Man’s Fingers,
Smoke yourself a Devil’s Cigar for a nightmare that forever lingers.
Cramp Balls, Scaly Earth Tongue, Sweet Poisonpie,
Puffball In Aspic, Redleg Jellybaby, Egghead Mottlegill in your eye.

Finally, in the Land Down Under,
There resides a botanical wonder,
With a name that makes your brain bobble,
That’s right…the one and only, the glorious Snottygobble!


Just so you know… the Longview Arboretum & Nature Center is OPEN! Hours are 10am-5pm, Wednesday through Saturday; Sunday 12 noon-5pm. Come out and see us! Please observe social distancing at this time. And bring your own brand of Zen! 903-212-2181

I need a road trip! Let me know if you’d like me to come and speak to your group sometime. I’m low maintenance, flexible, and you know I like to go just about anywhere. No city too big; no town to small. Just send me an e-mail at and we’ll work something out.

Posted by Steven Chamblee
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