Our Version Of A White Christmas

Our rice paper trees (Tetrapanax papyriferum) along the north side of the house are getting into their version of the holiday spirit with explosions of snowball-like blooms. In short order the bees will find them and after that the birds will devour the subsequent berries. Then in the spring and summer if I’m not careful when removing the dead and dying leaves and flower stalks I will inevitably ingest/inhale the copious amounts of pollen shaken free and endure some pretty dramatic allergic reactions. We’re talking airway constriction, burning eyes and sneezing fits that would place in the top three of any national competition taking place. Seriously: WaaaaaaaaaaCHOOOOOOO!!!

From the plant’s Wikipedia page comes a description of the blooms only a diehard botanists could craft, probably with the specific purpose of making any of us nonbotanistas wonder what the hell he’s talking about (I suggest reading it with an affected accent of your choosing):

The inflorescence is a large panicle of hemispherical to globular umbels near the end of the stem.

“Globular Umbels” is the name of a band waiting to happen. Someone make it so.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."