Garden of Gnosis: 01 – Dracaena mucro

But nettles are not to be tolerated. They settled the question on which I had been turning my back for so long, and one fine August morning, when there seemed to be nothing in the garden but nettles, and it was hard to believe that we had ever been doing anything but carefully cultivating them in all their varieties, I walked into the Man of Wrath’s den.

— A Solitary Summer, Elizabeth Von Arnim

Dracaena mucro, or commonly, ‘Kings Foil.’ A peculiar plant—with stiff leaves that grow vertically from a basal rosette—and, if properly cared for, can easily grow to be the length of a healthy adult’s leg. Minimal light needs, water needs or any needs for that matter—it appears to thrive even under the harshest of neglect, and its hardy nature is represented fully by its striking, yet beautiful, colouration. 

Each bladed leaf is engorged in size, fleshy and thick, and a deepest of greens—divided by a bright yellow streak that runs down the middle. Its serrated edges are cruelly sharp to the touch, and the slightest nick would leave a wound profusely bleeding in an uncontrollable manner for a prolonged period. This is most likely caused by the clear, gooey-like substance that oozes from its serrated leaves—as such, it is inadvisable to house Kings Foil amongst the vicinity of ill-prepared wildlife…”

… I settled my quill atop my journal—besides the hastily written horticulture notes—and looked up to hear, for the first time, the chirping of birds in the distance.

It was then that I realised that I just had many firsts; each one in quick succession of the other. My first time seeing the vivid blue skies that hung high and ever-sprawling in all directions above me—dotted occasionally with thick, downy clouds. My first time hearing the wind as it whistled through me, gently, like a soft flute. And my first time feeling the blanket of prickling grass beneath my feet…

… Ah, feet. Curious things. Dainty, pointed, and bony—yet they hold me upright with ease. No flexing of muscles, no suit of flesh. Just marble-white bones—as is the rest of me.

I looked to my hands, watching, as I moved each skeletal finger individually—and I found myself enthralled at the sight! As they are nothing but ribbons of calcium that move through sheer will of mind. My mind. I have a body—of sorts—abiding by my will.

As it stands, it appears that I am an anomaly. And, it would seem, that I am not the only oddity of this garden.

Lush fields of green stretch out in all sides, reaching deep into the horizon… and yet—it feels, confining. I cannot quite describe it. It is both unsettling, and comforting. It is as if the garden should be abundant with all forms of flora and herbage, yet it is barren. All except for a single Kings Foil—which I so aptly named.

And, while I am in the mood for the peculiars of nomenclature, I have come to the realisation that I do not have a name for myself—either a genus nor a common term. I do not feel as though this is a pertinent issue that needs to be address—I doubt I will be introducing myself to anyone soon. But, regardless, if I can so easily name a plant; surely, I can do so myself. It would be rude not to.

I sat and pondered for a moment while growing increasingly frustrated with myself. There are many things I am unsure of, but I hold the truest of confidence in my perspicacious—

especially in that of plants. And more accurately, the naming of plants. So, it would stand to reason that I could do such a simple task such as naming myself… 

It was then, from the deepest recesses of my mind, a name did emerge. From where exactly, I’m not sure. But I ran my finger along the edges of the Kings Foil and spoke.

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Kings Foil. You may call me, Linnaeus von Arnim.”

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