What It Is Like to Be Popular
— by the Tulip "Popular" Tree
Can you imagine people of all ages staring at you because you are so popular? Well, that’s my lot in life. In fact, I am so popular that botanists included my popularity in my name. Smart, huh?
Let me tell you about myself and you’ll see why all this works. What’s that you say? How do I get seeds? Okay, I’ll start at the beginning. Feel free to stop me any time to ask questions.
My seed pod looks like a small pickle dipped in chocolate sauce. Weird, huh? But it works. My seeds are usually dispersed by the wind they are so light. How fast can I grow? Well, I can germinate rather quickly if I land in a sun-filtered opening, and, no, artificial light is simply out of the question.
That’s another reason I’m so popular; I germinate so quickly. After a while I put out these simply gorgeous leaves (would you expect anything else?) shaped like the petals of a tulip. Is that how I got my first name? You betcha! But remember we’re still working on why I’m so popular.
When I have matured I stretch my branches way up into the air. Do I form a canopy? Yes, just like a canopy bed. Perfect for sunning oneself.
Now here’s the best part. Do I have blooms? Yes, and I’m getting to that. What do they look like? Are they pretty? Hold your horses! I said this was the best part. Imagine yourself in a beauty pageant with the floodlights hitting you just right. Your petals explode with pale yellow at the bottom gradually spilling into a bright orange. The bodice of your petal fades to a pale, spring-like green. No wonder I’m so popular.
Isn’t my last name popular? Oh, heavens no. I’m popular, you see. Don’t I really belong to the magnolia family? Well, I’ll have to check into my ancestral tree you see. What!? I really do belong to the magnolia family? Well, how stately! And no matter what you say about being called a popular, I’m popular!
— Joan Moriarty