I sketched this little flower when I was out on one of the cayes just the other day. When I had finished I asked a man sitting on his upturned boat what the flower was called.
“Eeh, mami,” he said, shaking his head and looking unnecessarily glum, “I dun know dat name, no I dunt.”
Turning to one side he yelled something unintelligible to another man who approached and looked at the sketch and at the now half-dead flower in my hand.
“Dat dere is a Yella Bell,” he announced.
“A yellow bell?” I was pleased with this information and started to write it down.
“Nah,” chimed in a third man, a bunch (if that is the right word) of fish hanging open-mouthed from a hook draped over one arm, “dat ain’t no yella bell, dazza Butter Bell.”
“Ah,” quoth I, ” a butter bell. ….”
“I never hearda no butter bell!” said the first man, “more like izza Corn Loop or a Sun-eye ….”
“A sun-eye?” I liked the sound of that ….
“Sun-eye aint yella!” exclaimed the second man.
The third man set off, fish swinging.
“Dazza Butter Bell!” he called over his shoulder.
I wandered off, having thanked them for their varying degrees of genius, to find a lady I had been talking to earlier. I had been unwell and she had spent the morning making me drink coconut water, which had a miraculous affect. She was decidedly more likely to know the name of the flower.
“Eeh, mami,” she said, “dat dere’s a Sun Daisy. Is good for back-ache. You jis rubs it it. Mash up good and you jis rubs it in.”
I jotted this information down, feeling that the name perhaps didn’t matter anyway when she added:
“But plenty folks call dat de Old Man’s Balm, or sometimes dey calls it Yella Linna-ment. My ole grandma she usa call it Sun-Scoop……”
Ho-hum ……. a yellow flower by any other name smells just as sweet …..
Catherine Broughton is an author. Her books are on Amazon and Kindle. More about her on http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk