Friday, 22 March 2013


Last night The Girl and I were talking about invasive species.

“Is toadflax invasive?” she asked, referring to the delicate flowers that ambitiously climb the walls of castles here.

No, I say, not that I know of – why do you ask?

“It invades places the other plants can’t go,” she said. “Right up bare walls.”

Ah, but that’s not an invasion, I said – that’s called a niche. That’s a job it already has in our system. Toadflax works with the plants and animals that live here, and doesn’t wipe them out.

 “Do you know why I think they call it toadflax?” she asked. Why? I asked.

“Well, princesses back then would have worn something elegant, like linens made from flax. And they would have known about the flowers – they would have been growing on their walls. And what do they kiss?”

Toads? I suggested.

“YES!” she said. “See what I mean?”

It’s all coming together, I said.

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