Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday 29

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at the Bermuda Onion where you "can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!"

From Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre

Carex grayi  Gray's sedge

Tear at sedges.
Chomp cow parsnip stems.

sedge noun \ˈsej\
: a grass like plant that grows in wet ground or near water

: any of the family Cyperaceae  *monocotyledonous graminoid (grass) flowering marsh plants differing from the related grasses in having ^achenes and solid stems. (Mostly marsh plants but they appear other places too, even the desert.)

Features distinguishing members of the sedge family from "true" grasses or rushes are stems with triangular cross-sections (with occasional exceptions) and leaves that are spirally arranged in three ranks (grasses have alternate leaves forming two ranks). For example: water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) and the papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus), and sawgrass (Cladium).

“Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, and Grasses have nodes where leaves are found (or are hollow all the way up from the ground)”


Comparison of monocot
and dicot sprouting

also known as monocots, are one of two major groups of flowering plants (angiosperms) that are traditionally recognized, the other being dicotyledons, or dicots.

Most members of this group have one cotyledon, or embryonic leaf, in their seeds. In contrast, the traditional dicotyledons typically have two cotyledons. This isn't a very useful way of identifying the two groups since this condition only lasts for a short period in a plant's life.

One of the most useful identifying traits is that a monocot's flower is trimerous, i.e. with the flower parts in threes or in multiples of three (3, 6, or 9 petals), while dicots are typically tetramerous (4) or pentamerous (5).

More characteristics are ...

^achenes [ay-keen] 
:  a small dry indehiscent (this means it doesn't open - it lacks a seam where it would naturally split to release the seeds) one-seeded fruit developing from a simple ovary and usually having a thin **pericarp attached to the seed at only one point (so it has very little in the way of a skin, fruit flesh and seed cover section - see below). A sunflower seed is a good example of an achene. 

Achene (Greek ἀ, a, privative + χαίνειν, chainein, to gape): a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants, often mistaken for seeds. They typically float, contain a single seed and don't open.

A sedge achene with feathery bristles (Rhynchspora plumosa)
Sounds like a bunch of those annoying spikey, sticky and bristley things that end up stuck to your socks and pants when you go for a walk are actually achene. 

And, apparently strawberry seeds are not really seeds, they are achene too. 

**pericarp - the outer and often edible layer is the pericarp, which is the tissue that develops from the ovary wall of the flower and surrounds the seeds. The pericarp is typically made up of three distinct layers: the epicarp (also called exocarp), which is the outermost layer; the mesocarp, which is the middle layer or pith; and the endocarp, which is the inner layer surrounding the ovary or the seeds. In a citrus fruit, the epicarp and mesocarp make up the peel.

Good grief - this is all because I looked up one word (sedge) from a children's picture book!!!

I want to toss in at least a couple more of the words I ran into this past week.

She brushed her chestnut curls back from her face and caught them in a basket with the nacre comb Uncle had given her three birthdays ago. 

nacre /ˈnākər/
: mother-of-pearl
: a hard, shiny, and smooth iridescent substance that forms on the insides of the shells of some shellfish (especially oysters and abalones) and that is used in ornamentation.
Origin: French, from Middle French, from Old Italian naccara drum, nacre, perhaps from Arabic naqqāra drum. First Known Use: 1718

Abalone nacre. Photo: Mauro Cateb (Source)

So, she got something like this ...

Well, I was also finally going to try to sort out exactly what a Brutus hairdo looked like, but there is a huge amount of internet confusion about it so that will have to wait until I have more time.


  1. Wow, sedge took you down a rabbit hole!! I knew nacre but the others are new to me.

  2. I have come across nacre although I couldn't have told you the meaning. The other words are all new, I like sedge and as Kathy says brought out some interesting facts.

  3. I am now educated in sedges! Thanks for all your "surfing"!

  4. These words remind me a little bit of Biology. Interesting to see each word with a photo. The comb is very pretty. Thanks for sharing.


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