Blue to you

Do these flowers look blue to you?

Well, I don’t think so. It’s purple to me.

My guidebook calls it “blue.”

But then, my guidebook also calls violets “blue.”

Um, hello? “Violet” is a color as well as a plant name, and it’s not a synonym for any other color except purple.

Here they are in the same photo:

purple or blue?

This isn’t a mere “you say tomato, I say tomAHto” affair. With plants, the flower is the key to identity, and color is the first thing you notice about a flower. So we ought to find some way to agreement on what “blue” is and what “purple” is.

It shouldn’t be as difficult as, say, trying to nominate a presidential candidate.

Some plant sites try to skirt this issue by saying there’s a “range” of color from blue to purple. Nice try. Show me a blue iris.

Of course, you may also run into a dwarf crested iris that is a light color. This would be lavender … not pale blue.

pale crested iris

Another site calls the color of the flowers “blue-lilac.” I suppose that color tag might suit a hydrangea, which looks like it’s made out of plastic anyhow.

But a crested iris?

An amethyst is purple. The sky is blue. These are not that hard to tell apart.

The dwarf-crested iris is PURPLE. Or lavender.

The violet is PURPLE. Or lavender.

And yes, even blue-eyed grass is PURPLE:

blue-eyed grass

Long ago, at my first newsroom job, a colleague said to me, “Geez, you’re kind of argumentative.”

I turned on him and said, “WHAT?!! I’M NOT argumentative!”

Today’s penny is a 1981, the first time I was accused of being argumentative. Not the last, though.

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