24 April 2015

Boojum tree

This photograph by Eliot Porter, entitled Cirio Near Las Tres Virgenes Volcano, Baja California (1966) is from the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I'm in a hurry today, so you'll have to read about the species on your own, at Wikipedia or The University of Arizona Arboretum.  (another pic here).

You can also go here, and find lots and lots of elsewheres to explore, some of which refer to these famous terminal verses from the eighth fit:
"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words, "It's a Boo-"

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
A weary and wandering sigh
That sounded like "jum!" but the other declare
It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of this laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away-
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
And btw, despite the way it looks, the boojum in the photo is a tree - not a cactus.

Via A London Salmagundi.    (Reposted from 2012 for Arbor Day 2015) 


  1. I like the way when other blogs post a picture or a story or something you don't just repost it alone. You add other things and related material so it becomes more interesting - and educational.

    This is a good blog and my favorite one.

    Diane L.

  2. That looks like something out of Dr Seuss...

  3. Also, too: (I worked for David Mermin in the late 1970s....)

  4. Absolutely my favorite plant. We spent many weeks camping in Baja during the 60s and 70s. We met Robert Humphery (the expert on the boojum) one time. He and his wife traveled the back roads of
    baja alone in a
    vw bus. We all had four wheel drives.
    Interesting fact, the branches grow up the trunk in a helix.

  5. Wow. So today is not a wasted day for me. I've learned something completely new. That is indeed a most peculiar tree. So many fascinating things manufactured by nature, I just hope I live long enough to see some of them in person...

  6. this tree is very well named! Thanks Stan!


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