How to feel inferior…


False Rue Anemone copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

If plants had feelings then this species would have an inferiority complex. The False Rue Anemone is another native given the first name of “False” in spite of its beauty and resilience. False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum) is a member of the buttercup family, so it also made a presence this past week in the forest preserve since it tolerates dry and moist woodland.

Anemone means “daughter of the wind”, which refers to a number of low lying spring flowers whose blooms are sturdy enough to survive March winds through the otherwise barren land.

One meaning of the word false is fake, and since this plant is real the name “false” is not a fitting name. False can also mean mistaken which in my opinion is in reference to the person(s) naming the species. They were ones making a mistaken identification thinking they had observed a Rue Anemone or the Wood Anemone. If they had observed the “False” Rue Anemone first would it have another name? Europeans were probably the first ones to name this species, like many native American plants, and their categorization would have been based on the prior classification a similar looking specie the Rue Anemone, found in the Eastern United States or the Wood Anemone originally from Europe.

It’s interesting to me that scientists have not found any incentive to re-name this Anemone with its own unique first name. Perhaps the unique five petal composition of the flower could lend an idea for a better suited first name. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary shows the origin of “five” to come from several places: Middle English, from five, adjective, from Old English fīf; akin to Old High German finf five, Latin quinque, Greek pente. Since the origin of “Anemone” is Greek then I think I’ll call this treasure of a flower, Pente Anemone.

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