This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Friday, 2 May 2014

Word To Use Today: convolvulaceous.

Is there a lusher, more luxuriant word in the English language than convolvulaceous?

Is there one that sounds more magical?

Whether the word convolvulaceous has real magic powers I can't be sure, but do try it out and let me know.

So what does convolvulaceous mean?

It's the name of a family of beautiful, though sometimes vicious, very fast-growing trumpet-flowered plants. They look glorious:

Ipomea
photo by David Wagner

but they climb by twining round other plants, which are sometimes strangled or overcome by the sheer weight of the convolvulaceous plant.

Sometimes convolvulaceous plants are used as medicine:

that's scammony. It's used to treat constipation.

sometimes they're poisonous:

that's field bindweed. It's rather poisonous to horses.

but sometimes they're sweet:

sweet potato, public domain
Yes, the sweet potato is convolvulaceous.

and always, just always, they have a spark of magic about them.

This may be the reason why pixies have the really hugely irritating habit of wearing the flowers as hats.

Autumn - picking chestnuts


Ah well. 

Word To Use Today: convolvulaceous. This word comes from the Latin convolvere, to roll together, from volvere, to turn.

2 comments:

  1. There\s a song, isn't there by Flanders and Swan...Said the Right handed Honeysuckle to the Left handed bindweed. I am very glad it's called CONVOLVULOUS! And your word is lovely. Very interesting too..

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there is, a rather sad one, I think. It's called Misalliance. You can find the words here: http://www.nyanko.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/fas/hat_misal.html

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