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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Trumpets
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 09:56:48 

    I would like to say thank you to those who have responded kindly to my
flowers post. I wrote it a few weeks ago and only posted it because Robert
Borski bullied me into it. And MA-D is right; there is little incentive to
write such pieces, and I didn't put the effort into it that I could have.
But, having done so, it gives me a greater appreciation for such efforts,
like William Ansley's Oz/Eyeflash posts.

Tony Ellis wrote:

>I hadn't even finished it when I started thinking of the "sprawling
>angel's trumpets" which are the very last words of The Fifth Head of
>Cerberus. They work on various levels, of course, including a
>symbolic link to the silver trumpet vine of the opening paragraphs,
>but now I'm curious as to what (if any) meaning they have in florigraphy.

>What do you sources say, Roy?

    This was (is) harder than I thought, and I only have a partial answer.
Trumpet vine is the same as trumpet creeper. The trumpet creeper is of the
genus Campsis, species Campsis radicans, of the Bignonia family
Bignoniaceae. The problem is, the trumpet-shaped flowers range from
yellowish-orange to red. Silver, when used in a plant name, usually means
white. The bignonias include shrubs, vines, and trees. This latter may be
important, because David is said to "snap off branches" to make a crude
pan-pipe. There is a trumpet tree, which has hollow branches used to make
wind instruments.

    We know that Wolfe has (or had) the cumbersome two-volume compact
edition of the OED, as do I. Among the dreadful fine print of usages under
"trumpet" is the following:  "The White Queen [narcissus], a novelty with
white perianth and trumpet of pale chrome." (brackets _not_ mine) Chrome can
be said to be silver in color, and the "White Queen" name, when coupled with
Number Five's remarks about the black and white queens, linked to the
narcissus, which means "egotism; self love", seems to fit the theme of 5HC
too nicely to be an accident.

    The angel's trumpet is easier. It is of the genus Datura, species Datura
Innoxia, of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The Datura is a group of
poisonous shrubs and trees, which include the jimson weed, angel's trumpet,
and the English thornapple. In the language of flowers the thornapple means
"deceitful charms".


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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