The Dirt

That’s Not My Name

Sweet Pea
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Steve Aitken
Photo by Frank C. Müller under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Photo/Illustration: Jillian Liebman
Sweet Pea
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Steve Aitken
Photo by Frank C. Müller under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Photo/Illustration: Jillian Liebman

I admit, this is a bit of a squib. Regardless:

I recently had dinner at an aunt’s home, with her husband and her three young children. I usually provide silent help in the kitchen, not because I have nothing to say but because one more voice among the shrill babble of babies would surely bring the house down.

It was during one of these stoic kitchen preliminaries that I noticed how my aunt oftentimes calls her children “Sweet Pea.”

“Sweet Pea.” Lathyrus odoratus? Where did this, and other, botanic appellation come from? Here’s a list of some (off the top of my opinionated head) that I can’t understand:

Sweet Pea

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus, annual) are very pretty indeed. Pinnate leaves, candy-colored flowers, and a climbing habit. But Gregor Mendel botched the pet name for me when he used the plants to study genetics. Now, I regress to Punnett squares in middle school science class whenever SP rolls off a tongue nearby.

Punkin’ or Pumpkin

I can’t believe someone thought it would be cute to start calling the darlings among us “Pumpkin” (or the colloquialised “Punkin”). To essentially tell me that I remind you of a large, round, thick-skinned member of the Cucurbita clan is not endearing.

‘Sweet Pea’ A large pumpkin

 Jujubee

Believe it or not, I’ve heard this one many times before. Jujubee (Ziziphus jujuba) fruits are ugly as sin and share a name with a gummy candy. Also consider this: the word ‘Jujubee’ has been effectively redefined as the second runner-up to season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race*. There’s only room for one Jujubee in this world, if you ask me.

Apple of my Eye

Plain strange. I’m sure an entymologist could give me an illuminating history of the term, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Fresh jujubee fruits Apple, of course

*Jujubee should’ve come in first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. user-1020932 07/30/2013

    living in the south would push you right over the edge, there are many many "sweet taytuhs" around here

  2. user-7006916 07/31/2013

    Sweet taytuhs, huh?

  3. gusfly 08/29/2013

    Please write informational posts. Fine Gardening is a fine magazine, I have learned so much in your pages. However I feel a little dumber after having read this post.

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