A colleague of mine in the Marine Station in Villefranche sur Mer, who knew a colossal amount about both plants and plankton, once gave me a precious piece of advice: if you want to fake botanical knowledge, just point to a tree and call it a false something (we had a false camphor tree in the magnificent Station garden). That way you look learned while leaving some leeway in your diagnosis. I am therefore pleased to report that there seems to be a lot of false (a.k.a. Confederate) jasmine outside, as well as a small true one which smells much better, and a huge and very real white wisteria whose smell is proof that the Intelligent Designer also does flankers. But the bees buy it.
Update: A Basenoter writes “It reminded me of a tip my Latin tutor gave to me when we were preparing to address Virgil’s Georgics during our Finals exams. As you know, the poems are full of arcane agricultural and botanical knowledge, even more obscure in a dead language than in English. So what my tutor said was this: when you come across an unknown botanical term, ask yourself whether the plant is (a) beneficial and to be prized, or (b) harmful to livestock, love-sick shepherds and humankind in general. If (a), call it ‘St xxxx‘s wort’ (St Catherine’s wort, for example), and if (b), just write ‘fox bane’ or similar – and the examiners will be none the wiser. Voilà! “
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