Pencil Cactus

There’s a lot to unpack in this AP article about the common houseplant known as the Pencil Cactus. Here’s the opening:

Sap aside, pencil cactus is nice indoors and out
Lee Reich, Associated Press


This undated photo shows a pencil cactus, the common name for Euphorbia tirucalli, an easy-to-care-for and interesting-looking houseplant, in New Paltz, New York. LEE REICH Associated Press

Pencil cactus is a fitting common name for Euphorbia tirucalli, even though the plant would be useless for writing and is not really a cactus.

OK, so the headline starts right off with mentioning the sap as a downside, but not enough of a downside to stop one from buying it. Maybe! But it is one of the most poisonous of the Euphorbias commonly available for purchase, so maybe it shouldn’t be so easily dismissed as a concern.

Then the headline lets you know that the plant is good outside, and yet the photo accompanying the article was taken in New Paltz, NY, home of an original French Huguenot village, and the truth is it will die die die if left outside through a winter in New Paltz, NY, home of the SUNY New Paltz campus.

Finally, the AP writer writes a pun! Oh the humanity! Of course, its not really a pun, not at all funny, and has no place in such a serious article about a houseplant in New Paltz, NY, home of the Mohonk Mountain House. Nice!

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