cactus as a tree?

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 10 08:24:36 UTC 2012

What about pampas grass and butterfly bush, each of which grows easily
to 8 ft tall? I don't see how either of them qualifies as a tree,
despite their height. And, in the case of the butterfly bush, the stem
gets to be  quite woody. Similarly, a number of considerably smaller
bushes (gooseberry, for instance) have woody stems once they get past
their second year (most gardening manuals specifically recommend
trimming 3-year old gooseberry stems that they single out as "woody" in
order to promote new growth).

Bottom line is that neither height nor "woodiness" give any finality to
the definition of a tree. Finally, much of Wikipedia, as we all know, is
written by people no more--and likely less--informed than Tom Egan. So
the fact that a particular word is used in a description in Wikipedia
may be suggestive, but it's not determinative. When I encounter such
instances in Wikipedia, my first impulse is to investigate--and,
occasionally, to correct--the chosen language. That's the whole point of
my query (although, as I said, my personal preference would be to deny
all cacti the status of a tree).


On 3/10/2012 3:13 AM, W Brewer wrote:
> And do not be bamboozled by anybody telling you that bamboo is grass.

The American Dialect Society -

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