BACK TO NATURE: Being common is better than you think

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 17:29 PM.
Plants and animals in our beloved forests also have a defined scientific name and usually more than one common name that describe their physical attributes in one way or another.  
If you ever want a cheap form of entertainment, listen to people describe flora and fauna that they have seen while hiking, biking, kayaking or canoeing. 
“It was yay big, with a green stripe and I swear it said ‘yippy-mowen.’ ” From now on, this observer will call that animal the “Yippymower.” I love it.  
The description is in the eye of the beholder, and if the beholder is persuasive, the new descriptive name may stick and be used by many far and wide.  
Some names can be very direct on how the species is portrayed. How about the Cirsium arvense, also know as the Canadian Thistle, lettuce from hell thistle (yikes), California thistle, corn thistle, cursed thistle (again, yikes), field thistle, green thistle, hard thistle, perennial thistle, prickly thistle, small-flowered thistle and way thistle. 
This poor species gets a bad wrap, doesn’t it? Well, it is an invasive species originally found in Europe and Asia. It is found all over the U.S. and is not well liked. Its common names give that away.  
Other names aren’t as scathing in their description, but they stick to physical properties or descriptions by association. 


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