Watch those Hyphens!

The Random House Treasury of Humorous Quotations (1996) was a constant companion of Dad’s and it now lives on my desk beside the computer.

This quote got me chuckling this morning and seeing hyphens and flowers through different eyes:

All flowers are flirtatious – particularly if they carry hyphenated names. The more hyphens in the name, the flirtier the flower. The one-hyphen flowers – black-eyed Susan; lady smock; musk-rose – may give you only a shy glance and then drop their eyes; the two-hyphen flowers – forget-me-not; flower-de-luce – keep glancing. Flowers with three or more hyphens flirt all over the garden  and continue even when they are cut and arranged in vases. John-go-to-bed-at-noon does not go their simply to sleep.  (Williard R. Espy)

I went off on a search of flowers’ names and immediately hit on a likely partner for John—–


Who else but Amaryllis Belladonna, otherwise known as Naked Lady!  Here she is in all her glory:

Amaryllis Belladonna ~ Naked Lady
Amaryllis Belladonna ~ Naked Lady

Not too long after noon here in Ireland so I’d best let them have their siesta while I go and do some Christmas-cleaning-hoovering-dusting-washing-ironing-relaxing –



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

14 thoughts on “Watch those Hyphens!”

  1. The very business of flowers is to flirt. But for those of you who are being kept awake by hyphenated ones might wish to switch to a de-hyphenated brand. But a caution here:
    Hyphenated ones are a part of the plant itself; de-hyphenated ones are just dirt. And remember that while the de-hyphenated flowers may seem less flirtatious, de-flowered hyphens are a menace to vocabulary.

  2. I have that book in my writing closet! Never thought about the meaning of how many hyphenations to a flirty flower – now I’ll never think of forget-me-nots the same. The photos are lovely.

  3. I will have to check and see if we can get such a wonderful book here. I love Forget-me-nots, and we have Velvet mint-bush, Thyme honey-myrtle, Fairy fan-flower and Purple fan-flower, Coastal morning-glory, and Narrow-leaved triggerplant, just to name a few. The Christmas food shopping was done by 9-30am this morning and a heartfelt thanks to all those wonderful people who work the long retail hours that I have been absolutely loving. All that is left now is (as per your list) the “Christmas-cleaning-hoovering-dusting-washing-ironing-relaxing”. Although I have just finished ironing yesterday’s stuff so may be I can cross ironing off the list now. I found it interesting that bluebell is one word…for some reason I always thought it was two with the hyphen. Lovely photos…

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