As they say, you’re never too old to learn something new.
Recently, I came across an article on how to tell the sex of a persimmon tree, followed by the much touted article on differences between the male and female persimmon trees, one paragraph of which says:
“To complicate things with the sexual identity of persimmon trees is the fact that the same plant can sometimes produce different types of flowers over the course of its lifetime. As a result, it is totally possible that the same tree that produces a large crop of tasty fruit during one year, can bloom in the following spring bearing nothing but male flowers. However, the frequency of this unusual botanical characteristic would best be described as uncommon, and usually only occurs after a traumatic event like the loss of some branches.”
I suppose I should have realized that fruit-bearing trees must be male and female – how else would those baby fruit buds be formed? I vaguely recall that when I bought the pear tree for my back yard, the nursery personnel asked whether any neighboring houses had pear trees, because if not, then my tree might not ever grow pears. Well, I get lots and lots of pears every year, so I just figured those honey bees were doing their job – it never really occurred to me that I might have a [slutty] female tree.
(Ok, folks, sex education really wasn’t part of the curriculum when I was in school many, many years ago – it’s a wonder I ever figured out where my own babies came from. Although I do admit I am somewhat fascinated by how a traumatic event can cause the persimmon flowers to change from female to male (but I think I may understand how male could become female, what with “a traumatic event like the loss of some branches” – depending on what branch(es) were lost) – and no, I don’t really want to go there in this post.)
This then begs the question – what other unlikely things have genders?
Well, of course, grass would have to be male/female. That’s not a mole running through and making those little blades wave – think about that next time you mow the lawn. You might be wiping out entire generations of little green grass families:
“Damn, Mildred – get some clothes on and grab the kids – we’re about to be mowed.”
And how about supposedly inanimate objects – we assume they don’t have a gender, but they may think otherwise.
For instance, pens. My pens always disappear off my desk, only to reappear days or weeks later – with friends in tow. I never discover just one returned pen – it’s always a whole passel of them. And maybe it’s just me, but they always seem just a little brighter on the return.
To get back to the lawn-mowing scenario – have you ever run over just one stone? There were no stones in that lawn last week, but now there are several of them. I always just figured my neighbor’s kid was throwing stones over the fence, but after reading about the persimmon tree sex issue, I’m not so sure. Maybe the little gray [horny] devils are sneaking in from other yards for a little afternoon delight. Maybe that explains why there are little stones and bigger rocks, and why some stones are round but some have pointy edges.
And, did you ever accidentally “kiss” the bumper of the car in front of you? Maybe it wasn’t really anything you did – maybe the vehicles in question simply had an attraction for each other. How about the somewhat more serious fender-benders? Maybe those vehicles simply like it a little rough.
And, of course, we’ve all experienced lost socks after washing. Where do they go? Are they sneaking off to hook up with other people’s socks? I picture them slithering out the washer hose, down the drain, into the pipes, up a drain at someone else’s house, and then into that person’s washer. Have you ever come across a sock you swear wasn’t yours? I’ve never gotten any of mine back – perhaps your place is just a little more exciting than mine.
I wish my blog posts were so prolific – it would be wonderful to open my WordPress editor and discover that several new post drafts had been created while I was away from the computer. But alas, that is not to be. Guess you’re all stuck with whatever I can come up with in my own pitiful little brain.
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Images by: tariusxj, and Sean Hobson, and Michael Wyszomierski, respectively
Funny CM. Sponges (the kind that live in the ocean) are like that too – they choose which sex they are based on how many of which sex ae already in the area.
Sorry for the delayed response, Paul – for whatever reason I never saw your comment until just now. Interesting information about sponges – I didn’t know that. I wonder if they then experience gender confusion as they grow up. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Great observations, CM!
Hey – I just had a thought – maybe you could use some of* *my* Drafts in your post-breeding program? My efforts seem not to be bearing much fruit, these days…
Now, there’s an idea! Some kind of post-generating-gene pool, sorta like a sperm bank.
PS: If you ever want to guest post for me, Karen, just let me know. I’d be honored.
Wow! Thank you, my friend!
We shall have to ‘talk!’ 🙂
I’ll look forward to it.
Loved the post CM!! Definitely made me smile, and think . . . 😉
Thank you! I was beginning to think that was one of those posts that my readers just weren’t too sure about. I thought it was amusing, and I’m glad you did, too.
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Brilliant, CM. That’s how the little Smart cars were born!
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🙂 Wish I would have thought of that, Mark. Thanks.