writing

Dionaea

I know I got a couple of questions about the name I chose for the villainess in Dragon Noir. For naming the fairies in the Pixie for Hire series, I used a loose system based a little bit on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. You know, Peaseblossom and Mustard Seed… For female fairies, who control the lineage Underhill, this system of using plant families is how female children are named. Males get names that are more suited to an, er, semi-modern life. There is a lot of British influence on my world, as names like Buckingham may make you realize.

So when I got ready to name this power-hungry fairy who would stop at nothing to rule her world, I knew I wanted a carnivorous plant. Not poisonous – Belladonna is named for a lethal plant, but it doesn’t affect her personality. My first thought was the pitcher plant I’d seen as a girl on the Oregon Coast, so I looked it up. Disappointingly, the name wasn’t going to work well for a female first name (Fae might not care, but my readers would) although it would have been deliciously ironic. Darlingtonia californica, also known as the cobra lily.

As an aside, the way these plants kill would make for a really creepy horror story. Attracted by scent, insects and even small animals enter the ‘pitcher’ and then can’t get out again. They drown in the liquid and are slowly digested by the juices the plant seeps on the inner walls of the pitcher.

After looking up carnivorous plants, I realized that naming her for the Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, was going to work beautifully. Even though I know her name will be misread as Diana at times, Dion as a short name has a little elegance and punch, perfect for subverting what she really is… And yes, she does take after her plant namesake.

I am a bit of a botany geek, I suppose. From the age of 6-18, I wanted to be a botanist. And yes, my name probably did have something to do with it!

photo by FallOut99 on deviantArt
photo by FallOut99 on deviantArt

1 thought on “Dionaea

  1. Interesting thing about Darlingtonia californica;
    a short distance north of Florence, Oregon is a wayside,I think they call it, honoring the Darlingtonia; with board walks running through the boggy ground where they grow. I always thought they grew only at very low elevations until, on a fire lookout exploration trip I spotted some in a ditch alongside a dirt track, at a high elevation, on a barren, rocky mountainside, where there was a small water seep.

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