Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pink Eye Flowers

So there's this wise saying type thing that goes something like "It's a family tradition to cut the ends off of the family ham every Christmas, we've been doing it for years--as long as I can remember. One year, Christmas was being held at my house and so I finally had the opportunity to ask grandma where this family tradition came from. She said "Well dear, I used to cut the ends off every year because my pan was too small to fit the whole ham in!""
It recently came to my attention that my family and I have one of these situations. Since I was BORN I believed that this certain type of desert flower, the "apricot desert mallow" caused pink eye. All throughout our childhood, my siblings and I called them "the pink eye flowers" and stayed away from them like they were poison; we knew that if they touched our eyes, we were doomed with swelling and puffy pink eye embarassment for weeks.
My brother has been into landscaping for quite a few years now and he informed me one day recently that those flowers we'd been fearing since childhood were nothing to be afraid of. They were completely harmless and often times used in desert landscaping. It was a really odd feeling and hard to break the sense of forbidding that the flowers held, it was like rejecting a fact of life. You breathe. Check. Geese fly in V's. Check. Pink eye flowers give you pink eye. Check. Yesterday while sneaking into a small nature preserve in Phoenix, Richard and I encountered the apricot mallow. I decided to tell my fears to eff off and grabbed the head of a flower and rubbed it vigorously around both of my eyes. It gave me a sense of defiance against my mom and all the bullshit she fed us (intentionally and unintentionally). Felt good.


  1. wow. My mother told us the same thing! We spent our younger years in Phoenix, and since I was small I never knew WHICH of the small pink/red desert wildflowers I was supposed to be afraid of, so I've avoided them all! I recently repeated this belief to my husband as he reached for one of those pretty blooms. He is now convinced I'm crazy, so I decided to look it up. And I am, indeed, crazy. Or rather, I WAS. Now I'm enlightened :) I wonder what she was thinking...?

  2. I was told this same thing by a guy at a nursery! But I've been doing research on it and not only does it not cause pink eye but it is edible and highly medicinal plant.