was I believe Aristotle who began to put order into the naming of
things. The resulting lists encompass life in a manner considered manageable
and outside of politics. Wisely we can know that Fat Hen, Good King
Henry, and Beets belong to the same family of plants.
Beyond Taxonomy, classification of life begins to spiral toward an
understanding that depends for its structures almost entirely upon
language. Names like Fat Hen, Good King Henry, and Beets are
shrewdly referred to as 'Common Names'.
Once 'Chenopodium Album' is pronounced by tongues accustomed to the
English Language it means something. And how glamorous it is to
point at Pigweed, or Lamb's Quarter or Wild Spinach and reference the
But are Pigweed, Lamb's Quarter, Fat Hen, Good
King Henry and Wild Spinach all the same plant. I suggest that under
no stretch of the imagination can they be, and this even if taxonomically
they are identical.
I say this because while I call it Good King
Henry, I do so because in my mind Fat Hen denigrates the plant to a sort of
plump contentment that makes me think of social-ness associated with dinner
gatherings, white wines and clever conversation.
As well there are some, with whom I am on very
good terms, who will call it Lamb's Quarter or Goose Foot, or Pigeon Foot,
and in my mind I find an overwhelming willingness to correct them.
suppose, it might sometimes be useful to be reminded that I am more closely
related to a Hagfish than I am related to a Columbine.