Magic Words and Little Frogs
Words are such amazing, delightful treasures, aren’t they? Little jewels of glorious shape and sound and nuances of meaning.
Did you know that the botanical name of these marvelous flowers, ranunculus
, means “little frog”, from the diminutive of the Latin rana
It’s true, they don’t look like frogs, but many species of the genus, which includes buttercups, are often found near water. This feminine, romantic version, which we all love to photograph, is called a Persian Buttercup.
One of the first things that D and I discovered in common was that we had both studied Latin. I found it quite enjoyable but didn’t foresee using it. In fact, I do. Nearly every day. All our horticultural plant images must be correctly identified by Latin name.
(So, thank you to the nuns at St. Maur’s Academy in Yokohama.)
And one always gains a deeper understanding of a word by looking up the derivation, most often Latin based. Try it next time you come across a word you don’t really know. Latin roots can give a fascinating glimpse into the history of a word and impart subtle shades of meaning.
But even without that, ranunculus – and words – are just jolts of pleasure, aren’t they?
Perhaps too much pleasure – about 400 photographs this week so far!
The charming and inherent waywardness of ranunculus make them ideal for an arrangement like this. But even their curvy stems require support and what makes it work is a japanese device called a kenzan:
These belong to my Mother, from her ikebana (flower arranging) classes when we lived in Japan. I love the ones designed for individual stems. They are weighted and quite heavy.
And, of course, in English a kenzan is called…a frog.
And a frog in Japanese is called kaeru
, which means “return”, and they are considered bringers of luck, safety and wealth. Kaeru
amulets are carried in the coin purse or wallet where they will “return” all that is spent. Mine is tiny and ceramic and green and has lived in my coin purse for many, many years.
I love frogs so much. Last year I posted this
to promote Save the Frogs Day, which this year falls on April 30th, and is what inspired today’s post. Many amphibian species are at great risk of extinction. What is at stake is far more than the survival of many exquisite creatures – they are sensitive barometers of the health of numerous ecosystems and their dwindling populations could have irreversible consequences.
Well, you are patient, my friends, and I’ve taken much of your time, but, lastly, for the most amazing little frog portraits ever, visit this incredible collection
by Japanese photographer Sakura.
Have a lovely, warm and sunny day! ♥