Not Straight Black and White

White Bluebell
White Bluebell

Sometimes language gets it right, sometimes you wonder if it shouldn’t go back to school. I’ve mentioned Violets before. Anyone with an ear for music knows that Roses are red and Violets are blue. Leaving aside the question of what colour red Roses are for the moment, I’d like to draw your attention to Violets. There are two interdependent issues here, but I’ll do my best to clear things up for you.

To start with I think I ought to mention Blueberries. They are easy to sort out in the breakfast cereal bowl as they are blue. Then, while we are breaking our fast, perhaps I could mention Orange juice, Oranges are orange. Now we skate off over the thin ice of contention. Strawberries are not straw, they are not even straw coloured. Turnips are, well, just turnips, really. The same could be said for Pumpkins. No, not that Pumpkins are turnips  – Pumpkins are Pumpkins, as those of us who have had to interface with them outside of fritters can testify. Green Beans are green Baked Beans are baked, it’s only when we get to Butter Beans that the etymology becomes strained.

Meanwhile, back at the florists, Pinks are pink and Lilac is lilac. With Violets we have two choices. Either the flowers should be violet or the name of the flowers should be Blues. That’s it, stripped to its bare essentials. It’s quite simple really.

As you no doubt guessed by now, today’s picture is a Bluebell.

4 thoughts on “Not Straight Black and White

  1. I agree. Redbuds are actually pink and purple, and purple finches are red and pink. It’s craziness, I tell you.


      1. Unfortunately, no one’s listening to us, because these confusing names persist.


  2. Language is a funny thing. I bought columbine last year. I took pity on them in the fall, where they languished on a garden center shelf. I had no idea what color they would be. One had bloomed, and the other seems shy. The first is red and yellow. I have blue ones and pink, but the red and yellow is a new one on me!


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