ever so umbel

About a month ago, some lads brought a horse to graze on the plot of land alongside ours. Sadly, though unsurprisingly, la yegua isn’t doing a very good job of clearing the brambles.

There’s another plant, too, that she seems to be studiously avoiding, and the other night the car headlights caught this pale army standing menacingly tall on the other side of the wall:

ferula stalks by night

One of the horse’s owners tells me that she avoids this particular plant because it tastes like hinojo (fennel). It clearly isn’t fennel, as it isn’t anything like as strong smelling, and its leaves are far greener and less feathery, but his comment has finally given me the clues to provisionally identify it as cañahejaferula comunis. Apparently the common English name is giant fennel.

The plants can easily grow as tall as a person. When it flowers, the cañaheja produces yellow spherical umbels, an inch or so in diameter, which are themselves grouped into larger spherical ‘pom-poms’, arranged in turn around the central stalk.

ferula flowerst

They always make me think of little individual solar systems in some kind of fractal universe.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

4 thoughts on “ever so umbel”

  1. Why is this a menace?

    It is strange that a horse is so choosy.
    I once had a cat that ate grass selectively. It was strange to watch her graze. Isaiah says that the lion will graze beside the cows; but cats?

    But my cat R.I.P. also loved zucchini peelings. She was a stray cat and mine only in the figurative sense. I had better shut up, because otherwise I’ll leak her name which is my worldwide answer to the secret question that I will be asked if I lose my password.


    1. Not literally menacing, but they are taller than I am, and caught in the headlights they looked rather triffid-like.

      I think that when we eventually do beat our spears into pruning hooks, even cats will have to eat vegetables. But maybe they’ll be allowed to keep hunting the giant langostas – the insectos, not the crustáceos – that do so much damage in the garden.


    1. Hey!
      long time…
      It’s quite possibly the closest thing to poetry that I’ve written this week: thank you for finding it!

      I think the plants deserve to be written about, but without a supporting photo, I’d be hard pushed to produce anything intelligble for general readers. So they are filed in memory ready for when I think I can meet the challenge.

      Thanks for dropping by!


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