Touch a silky floral creature and you risk being pricked, bitten, pecked, growled at, or licked. Imagine this tiny, furry or reptilian beast tugging flower petals around itself, trying on greenery, snapping at the others, or roaring fragrantly like the Tiger Lily does when provoked. Which of these deserves to spring from the patrician rose stem, with its history of bloody elegance? The Mousecup doesn’t. Expect tears from those whose leaves dry out before the blossom, and some bud will likely embarrass itself by popping out from a weedy nettle stalk.
Staghorn, Frogwart! What hostess will let you bring that arrangement inside? There’s always the danger that the animal might overpowers the flower. Let’s say a dragonwing grows a second wing, a body, large jaws, and yanks out the roots to make a tail.
Call the Dandylion. (Mention diversity.) Plant the giant, mythically strange Roosterbag in your yard. Plant two or three! Many avoid the lovely, flowering Dogwood tree that barks at anyone pushing a stroller, while Dogtooth Violets just whine and snap at your legs. Foxgloves usually flower cleanly,without incident.
The Cock’scomb is often grafitti’d by adolescent boys, while the Cat’s Claw bush outside a party can catch and tear a girl’s dress.
For rank geezerhood, try the Goat’s Beard, yellowing like aging teeth. In those tabloid moments, observe the Lambs Ear and Pussywillow in strapless evening gowns and stiletto heels, made up lambs and kitties as small as your thumb, each decorated with red, white and pink petals, and smelling like cherry chapstick.