VORTEX REPORT: What is that … growth?

As you know, my friends and I have been exploring …

We managed to send in the remote probe to take photos of the thing, a portentous plant or growth of some kind, in or near the epicenter of the ecclesial force vectors emanating from the Chancery of the Diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph, The SSPX parish St. Vincent’s and, of course, the HQ of the National Catholic Fishwrap.

Our investigations may have actually changed the balance of forces!  We saw, for example, that the NCR the other day praised Bp. Finn!

Some of the data has come back and we have subjected it to analysis.  While I wait for the Holy Father to arrive at Lambeth Palace, I decided to share some of the ominous findings.

Here is some of the analysis:

Sorry the tree ID has taken a while.  It’s been a bit perplexing because what I can see of it doesn’t quite match any of the classic descriptions.  The leaves look like something between a chestnut and a beech (both in the same family, at least), but the twigs are definitely not beechy (smooth and grey), nor are some of the characteristics quite like the native chestnut that appears in my guides.  However, it is quite possible that the specimen is a hybrid of American and Chinese chestnut; they hybridize freely and are being used as ornamental plantings to replace the native chesnuts that have almost been wiped out by chestnut blight.  The hybrids have much better resistance to the fungal blight.  I can’t see some of the characters we would use to ID things because there are no fruit or flowers to be seen.  Were there any burs or nuts around?  I can’t tell what the trunk looked like.  Single stem or branched near the ground?  Color?  Smooth or rough?  Leaves hairy on the underside?  Twigs smooth or hairy?  All of those characters might help, but you could also ask the KC streets department if they have arecord of what they planted there, assuming they are in charge of it.  :-)  Anyway, our best guess is some hybrid chestnut.  (For the person who wanted the Linnean name, the genus would be Castanea and the species unknown, but possibly a hybrid of dentata and mollissima; Castanea means chestnut, dentata = toothed; mollissima = very soft).  Of course, we could be wrong.  “We” includes me, my plant systematist colleague, […], and her PhD student.


There it is.

I think we may have to send the probe in again.

In the meantime, steady your nerves now with a piping hot mug filled with….

It’s swell and not a bit portentous!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Classic Posts, Global Killer Asteroid Questions, Lighter fare, Linking Back and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Lisa Graas says:

    This is exciting! I feel like I’m on an adventure!

    Here may I live what life I please,
    Married and buried out of sight,
    – Married to pleasure and buried to pain, –
    Hidden away amongst scenes like these,
    Under the fans of the chestnut trees;
    Living my child-life over again,
    With the further hope of a fallen delight,
    Blithe as the birds and wise as the bees.
    – Violet Fane, In Green Old Gardens, 1843 – 1905

    “Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me:
    There lie they, and here lie we
    Under the spreading chestnut tree.”
    — George Orwell

  2. jaykay says:

    Aarrgh! It be life, Faddah, but which it ain’t as we knows it (Preserved Killick, HMS Enterprise)

    Speaking of portent(i)ous events, my Mystic Monk delivery arrived today. Looking forward to an ineffable evening!

  3. jaykay says:

    Preserved Spockillick, even.

    Have now opened and brewed first mug of Mystic Monk (Irish Cream flavour). Sinking into the vortex… (drawn into Bp. Finn force line)…sinking… sinking… feel strange need to kneel… many forces at work here… hmmm…smell of fish trying to intrude… Need to sing now… yes, thats it… ‘take me back to the black hills, the black hills of Wyoming…’

  4. jaykay: I hope you also liked the coffee.

  5. jaykay says:

    Enjoyed it immensely, Fr! Not wisely but too well. Major inroads made into it already. I’m a devotee of flavoured coffees and the ‘Irish Cream’ is seriously good. I gave the ‘Royal Rum/Pecan’ to the Irish-Italian part of the family (who usually drink Lavazza brand). I think, on early reports, follow-up orders are on the way. Certainly from me anyway. Solves the Christmas present dilemma.

Comments are closed.