It’s my favorite time of year. The air grows crisp and cool, screaming brats get banished to school, and we all look forward to the miraculous blooming of the toilet paper tree.
Toilet paper tree (Papyrus toiletus), first described by famous botanist Scott Charmin in his classic work, Two-Ply for the Straight Guy, is truly a wonder of nature. Depending on its location, it may be tall, short, deciduous, or evergreen. Blooms may appear at any time of year, but heaviest blooming usually occurs on Fridays and Saturdays during football season in fall and winter when few other flowers are seen. The blooms open in the dead of night, delighting and surprising everyone the next morning.
And what fantastic blooms they are! Actually modified leaves called bracts, these brilliant white streamers, up to 10 feet long, billow from the branches from the top of the tree to the bottom. No tree – nay, no plant – on the face of the Earth matches the sheer spectacle of the toilet paper tree.
Beauty is fleeting, however. Like a shooting star, 401K wealth, and the career of Pee Wee Herman, this wonder fades in the wink of an eye. The first rain shower melts the blooms into soggy wads that slowly disintegrate upon the ground.
Stripped of its glorious blossoms, the fabled toilet paper tree fades into obscurity, until another fall weekend, when in the middle of the night as the populace slumbers, the miracle happens once more.
Here’s hoping your yard will be the next one blessed.