Posted by: LovelyAnomaly | January 19, 2010

Also Listed as Acanthopanax sieboldianus

Eleutherococcus sieboldianus - Fiveleaf Aralia

Today, in preparation for my next semester of grad school, I purchased a bookcase and a coffee maker.

While sorting through old notebooks and binders, I flipped open my studybook for my “Woody Plants of the Landscape” class.  This class was affectionately termed “woodies” by us horticulture students, but I felt that was a bit rough to explain to anyone other than a classmate.  As I studied, my away message was often, “Memorizing treeeeeeeeeees”.  That meant business.

I would sit in my big blue chair at the computer and this green notebook in my lap.  “Flying” from the 2003 Peter Pan soundtrack would play on repeat over my headphones.  Only this song.  I couldn’t break my concentration. A pen nestled in my hand.  Earl Grey tea with Irish coffee creamer and one packet sugar sat on my desk.

First, I would look at the name of the tree on our course website.  I’d dissect the tree by identification characteristics.  Leaves.  Buds.  Stem.  Bark.  Flower color.  Fruit.  Flipping through multiple pictures.  Trying to soak it all in.

Identification quizzes were worth 200 points.  Twenty trees.  Ten points per tree.  Points off for spelling errors.  Our TA would drag us around campus–feeling as though we were being lead on some horrible path to our doom–until we suddenly stopped at a tree.

We had only a minute to write down the plant’s name.  Oh.  Oh, God.  Do I remember this plant?  Yes. Yes, I do.  It’s the Fiveleaf Aralia.  Okay. Okay.  And its Latin name?  How do I spell it? My mind was frantic.

But I knew how to spell it.  Because after dissecting each identification characteristic, I scribbled the Latin name of the plant over and over until I had written it ten times.  Or more, if I felt I hadn’t quite mastered it.

Eleutherococcus sieboldianus.  Fiveleaf Aralia.

Nailed it.



  1. I want to do this with animals.
    I so want to do this with animals.
    I am definitely a bit crazy.

    taxonomy was fun. first exam in bio princ II that I passed without stress… maybe the only one too.

    I so want to do this with animals.

  2. Wow, I’m pretty sure I would never make it in horticulture class.

  3. Um, I would have failed that class but I am good at writing the same thing over and over and over again until I remember it!

    The earl grey tea plus music is a great studying combination though, that’s for sure!

  4. Ummm, I definitely would have failed that class. And cried. But your tea with Irish coffee creamer sounds AMAZING.

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