Color My World

They didn’t color my childhood.  In fact, growing up in Connecticut there wasn’t a single one.

When I moved to Washington, DC, however, people kept talking about red buds all spring.  I thought everyone was weird.  What was the big deal?  Most trees have red buds, and when the leaves come out, they’re green.  Or else flowers come out, and they’re purple or pink or white.  Why was everybody talking about “red” buds?  I kept looking around for a particularly beautiful red-flowering tree.  But there weren’t any.

My father-in-law finally set me straight.  About 5 years after I’d moved down here, Johnny pointed right at one — that’s a “red bud.”

What color do you see?

“But it’s purple,” I responded.

“Yes I know it’s purple.  It’s a red bud.”

“No.  It is a ‘purple bud.’  Why would you call an obviously purple tree a red bud'”?

“Because that’s what they’re called.  The buds are red.”

“All buds are red, or most of them.”  Logic never wins arguments.  Ticks me off.

I thought that maybe the trees that I call “purple buds” were indigenous the DC area.  Maybe, I thought, they only grow in swamps or in places where people suffer from that special DC combination: over-sized egos + Potomac Fever.

But no, Wikipedia tells me that Cercis canadensis  (Eastern Redbud) grow in much of the U.S. and in parts of both Canada and Mexico.  Of course the picture Wikipedia gave me ignores Canada completely.

Eastern "Redbud" Distribution

Sorry Canada.

I got to thinking and I figured that maybe, just maybe, if we can start by renaming these trees, by calling them what they obviously should be called, well then maybe we can work out all the other problems in the U.S.  And after that we can tackle the problems of the rest of the world.

But of course, then we’d have to get Congress to agree:

Eastern Purplebud Tree

Are they purple?

Eastern Pinkbud Tree

Or are they pink?

(Google took these pictures, not me.)

60 Comments

Filed under Climate Change, Family, Global Warming, Humor, Politics

60 responses to “Color My World

  1. Pingback: Who Am I? | FiftyFourandAHalf

  2. There seem to be quite a few mismatched names around.

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  3. Always learn something reading your blog…

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  4. Whatever you call them, they’re in beautiful bloom right now here in Illinois. This weekend I went and lopped a couple of branches that are just budding off the tree in my yard. I pounded on the base of each branch with a hammer to split the woody stem, then stuck them in a tall vase of water. Today the flowers are just starting to open, so I have spring in the middle of my kitchen table! Thank you, Martha Stewart.

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    • Sounds gorgeous! I’m more of a Julia Child sort of person than Martha. I drop stuff on the floor and eat it all the time. And nothing I make looks perfect. Well, except when I make a mess.

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  5. My only guess is it’s because of what dogs do on their trunks!

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  6. Hmm, now it makes me wonder why there are “dogwoods”!

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  7. Red

    We had a redbud (and we lived on Redbud Street) which was all three…red, pink and purple. How about we call it ambrosia?
    Red.

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    • Hmmm, the only ambrosia I think of is white with marshmallows in it (which never made me think of ambrosia as in “nectar of the gods,” rather it made me want to slip it to the dog.

      But I’m not particular, although I do think most of them are purple. Ambrosia tree will work for me. But not redbud, Red!

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      • Red

        Oh, that atrocious stuff with the marshmallows! Our dog flatly refused. I suppose he was more human than we gave him credit.

        I agree, not very red. They are pink here in SC.
        Red.

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  8. Now why don’t they just ask us about this stuff? We’re smart, creative, good with words. Ticks me off.

    And you know, I think they should actually be Robin Flat Breasts because, well, they could use a bit of silicone if you ask me.

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  9. I have the same issue with Robin Red Breast. It looks rust-colored to me and should be Robin Rust Breast.

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  10. Red bud means home to me and I always know that spring is coming when I see them. Thanks for the reminder. We’re currently under snow.

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    • Glad I could get you back home for a spell. It is the little things that you miss most when you’re away.

      And for all the good about Virginia, Connecticut will always seem like home to me.

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  11. Red, purple, pink…they’re simply beautiful! And I’m sure Congress would never agree to change the name. Aren’t most of the states the “Red Bud” thrives in “Red States?”

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  12. I like “Purple Bud.” The scientists and first namers obviously made a mistake. These trees are starting to show up in Wisconsin if planted on the south side of a building so the house can protect from the very cold northern breezes during winter, and the winter sun can keep them a tad warmer. Otherwise, these are not that hardy up here. They are gorgeous.

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    • Thanks, Randel. You are obviously incredibly intelligent to see things my way. Thanks for stopping in.

      There are PurpleBuds in Wisconsin? Wow. That’s pretty far north. I wonder if they have any in my home state of CT by now. They really are lovely trees, although I can never remember what they look like when not flowering.

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  13. Now in TX those bluebonnets are decidedly blue…or perhaps someone else’s eyes sees periwinkle. And Indian paintbrush is gorgeous…smart to avoid the color thing altogether. Whatever the color, your world, our world, color it beautiful.

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    • They are all beautiful — I do love spring! I always think of periwinkle as a shade of blue, so you’re safe there. And I’d never seen Indian paintbrush before — oh, I’d love to see that in bloom.

      I loved your travels with Andy the Armadillo!

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  14. 1) Buds do not equal flowers.

    2) Since their buds are red, the tree is appropriately named – thus purple buds would be inappropriate …. however … Purple-Flower Tree would be appropriate.

    3) Think power mower … Two words differing by only the first letter, yet pronounced differently. Therefore, what are the other three ways “power mower” could be pronounced?

    4) It’s President Obama’s fault, thus all this should be a campaign issue.

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    • I think it has been too long a day for me to try and figure out your power mower analogy. What color are they?

      The buds are non-descript, completely unnoticeable. In fact, I don’t even know that they are red. A rosebud, for example is the color of the rose, and therefore I question whether the buds of a redbud tree are, in fact, red. Who cares? Nobody notices these trees until they flower and their flowers are purple.

      It is not Obama’s fault. I first realized how stupid the name was when Reagan was in office. And he did so very many stupid thing that I will give this one to Reagan too. I’m sure they’re killer trees.

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      • 🙂 Ok … try this.

        Pow er Moe er
        Poe er Mow er
        Poe er Moe er
        Pow er Mow er

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        • My dear Frank, it is not the pronunciation that is the problem here, it is the color and the name. Which don’t match each other. Perhaps I am being thick. But I actually think that the people who insist on calling these REDbuds are thick and I, well, I am wonderfully creative. And brilliant. Unless I’m looking at a power mower

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  15. Naturally, for the pizza thing, I blame Reagan and the Republicans. Reagan was, after all, the guy who decided that ketchup was a vegetable, too.

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  16. bigsheepcommunications

    You’ve enlightened me. I had no idea those were redbuds. I see them all over (here in NC), but I grew up in NJ, so what do I know?

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    • We can start a movement of folks with common sense who didn’t grow up calling those pretty trees such a stupid name!

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      • bigsheepcommunications

        I’m guessing these trees were named by the ancestors of the people in Congress who have now deemed pizza to be a vegetable. Common sense will soon cease to exist : (

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  17. I tell my (American) husband that the Americans simply don’t make sense. Any country who pronounces a city name as “Ar-can-saw” when its clearly spelled “Ar-Kansas” can never claim to be based on any kind of good logic.

    It’s an ongoing battle in our house, and now you have just given me more fodder for the fight, thank you! 😉

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  18. I’ve had the same issue with June bugs. They don’t appear here until July – usually around Independence Day. So why do we call them June bugs – why not July bugs? I say we rename both. You can have purple buds if I can have July bugs. LOL.

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  19. That does it — the whole world is crazy. I didn’t know about the finches (I wonder if we have them here.) We have a woodpecker around here with a red head — they’re called red bellied woodpeckers. Go figure!

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  20. Reminds me of the time my young son asked me why purple finches were red!

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  21. Whatever color they are … they’re so pretty 🙂 MJ

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  22. Good thing. War is so ugly.

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  23. I have never seen a redbud tree yet. So it was a fun for me to go through this post. 🙂

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  24. Hi,
    It certainly doesn’t’ make much sense at all, and the photos of the last two trees, well I think one is dark pink (crimson) and the other pink. 😀

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    • Actually, in real life they are decidedly purple, but the pictures look quite pink. And it doesn’t make any sense, because many of the trees are just scrawny bushes or thin little things. But when they bloom they are just beautiful. I for one never notice the buds.

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  25. My mom has a redbud tree in her yard. I always thought it was misnamed, too.

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    • They’re really pretty. I go around all the while they’re blooming saying “purple buds, purple buds.”
      Glad I have at least one ally!

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  26. Oh gosh…. I just wish they had them in New York, where I live.

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    • You don’t have to go too far south to find them — they usually coincide with the cherry blossoms. And who knows, with global warming, maybe you will be seeing them up there pretty soon. I’m not sure if that’s enough of an “UP” side to global warming though.

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m off to check out yours.

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  27. We have a saucer magnolia, a dogwood and a crepe mertle in the front yard, all putting on shows or getting ready to. It’s my test to see if we’re really middle aged. We enjoy the trees and care that they’re blooming!
    I love the pics.

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    • It sounds wonderful. We have a crepe myrtle, too, but it’s no where near ready to pop. Around here, the famous Washington cherry trees are out (not cherries though), the magnolias and the ahem, purple buds.
      Glad you like the pictures — but Yikes I forgot to credit them!

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  28. No worries, U.S., I’m sure we have purple red buds here too, regardless of Wiki-ignoreCanada-pedia. Or is that red purple buds. Hmmm…. this is all too hard on the brain – thankfully I live in the land of tulips!
    Lisa
    Ottawa Canada

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