The Perks of Being a Literal Wallflower (Erysimum scoparium)


Dear Friend,
I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. Life as an angiosperm isn’t too exciting and I often go unnoticed in the family Brassicaceae. What I really want more than anything is to branch out and blossom into a unique individual while remaining true to my roots. But at the same time, I’m scared that others won’t accept me… I’m also a little worried that I’ll catch the clubroot parasite that’s been going around lately.
A lot of my friends are really into this thing called photosynthesis. The whole idea of splitting water and converting light energy into a usable chemical form seems pretty complicated and I don’t think I’ll be very good at it.
Also, I’m not as tall as the other wallflowers… I talked to some pea plants about it and they told me that I’m short because of genetics and that I’m wearing recessive jeans. It sounds like a pretty solid theory, but then again, pea plants aren’t really considered the most credible species in the food web. (They’re more commonly known for being highly incestuous and for worshipping a monk god named Mendel or something). Well, regardless of which jeans I’m wearing, I really do feel myself changing and I think that I just might be turning into a mature wallflower…
The problem is that I’m not sure if I’ll ever be ready for meiosis. I mean, I’m already awkward when it comes to asexual reproduction, can you imagine what it would be like to produce my own gametes? But I must admit, there’s this female gametophyte I’ve been admiring for quite some time now. I know that she’s way out of my league (she’s not even growing on the same section of mortar as me) but I can’t help myself, her cells are too perfect! She has great osmotic pressure, her thylakoids are stacked so neatly, and her cuticle is flawless. Even as a haploid, she’s twice the wallflower I’ll ever be.
I guess there comes a point of existential crisis in every organism’s life. What others don’t understand is that, behind all the foliage and dirt, I am a very necessary contributor to life as we know it. Sure, sometimes I get leaned on, or chewed up, or used as the breeding ground for different species of beetle, but that’s okay, because that’s what primary producers are for! I can support the biomass of higher trophic levels because I have a wall of my own to grow upon.
In times like these, I am inspired by the great and wise Bodhi tree who had to endure the company of a human ascetic for 49 days. The tree’s water intake was hindered, its seeds could not travel far distances, and its bark began to rot at the spot where the ascetic sat. However, on the brink of death, it is said that the Bodhi tree reached enlightenment and a state of complete harmony called Nirvana.
All in all, I’m not sure where natural selection will lead us next and I probably never will be… but in this moment, I swear we are infinite.