Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Very Short Lesson in Irish Plant Taxonomy

Taxonomy is the science of plant identification.  In April of 1994 I went to Ireland with Mom & Dad.   There was a shrubby plant, three or four feet high, with pretty yellow flowers that we saw almost everywhere.

When we visited the old family farm of Mom’s mother in Shronebeha near Banteer there were many of these flowers.  As we looked at the remains of the old home I decided to ask an elderly relative who was accompanying us about them.

Standing about 15 feet from one, I pointed and asked, “What do you call this plant with the lovely yellow flowers?”

She looked very closely at the plant, and took a few steps toward it.  I could see the wheels turning as she searched her memory for its title.  After a few more moments of careful thought, she turned to me and said, “Bush.”

To this day, I’m not actually sure what this plant was.  There are a number of plants that match the general description, Furze, Whins, GorseBroom and probably many more, but which one it might have been will forever remain a mystery.

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