Stick with me on this.
Scientific names are important. They bring order and precision to Earth’s millions of life forms. Take the flowers in this post. A botantist would look and think:
Family, as the name suggests, includes a group of plants that are closely related, that share many things in common. Aunts, cousins, grandparents.
Genus is like your last name. It identifies the smaller group that you belong to. Parents and siblings.
And Species? That’s like your first name. It points (most of the time) to a specific individual.
But life isn’t tidy. (Still with me?) Even science changes its mind. Now apparently all the Pyrolas have been moved from Pyrolaceae (the wintergreen family) to Ericaceae (the heath family), in with the rhododendrons and blueberries.
Then toss the “common” names into the mix, the ones we use instead of all that botanical gobbledegook. You might recognize this little plant with its elephant-trunk flowers as common pink wintergreen.
It’s a bit much at times. Which is sad, because there is much enjoyment in getting to know your neighbours — at whatever level you are comfortable with.
On my rambles, I spotted several patches of round, leathery leaves. Further on a flash of pink against a rotting stump — a slender stalk of unfolding blossoms.
No names run through my thoughts at that moment. Nothing is lost in translation.
The wonder is wordless.
Common pink wintergreen Pyrola asarifolia