This Noble Plant

Posted on June 20, 2005 by Jenna

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Abstract. Peonies are a plant often used in radioactive waste disposal. This essay gives some basic information on this noble plant and explains the increasing trend towards using peony gardens to efficiently and cleanly resolve radioactive waste accumulation issues.

Peonies are plants of the genus Paeonia of the family Ranunculaceae. They are hardy perennials whose large flowers often bloom in spring and are usually pink or white. Peonies are not generally considered dangerous flora: they have no natural weaponry and are not poisonous in nature. However it is still best to use caution around peonies unless one is a trained professional.

In medieval times peonies were grown principally by peons. This included serfs, servants, and flunkies, but not minions or the unattached lower class. As a rule the unattached lower class could not afford peonies and had to dispose of their own radioactive waste. Minions, conversely, grew minionies, hardy perennials whose large flowers often betrayed the minions to their doom.

In the modern day horticulturists use peonies to absorb excess radiation from the waste products of local nuclear power plants. This technique requires a secure facility and a number of peonies. The peonies absorb the waste through their roots and associated mycorrhizal fungi and then convert the radiation into mutation. Most of the resulting mutants die, after moaning things like, “Stamen! Stamen!” or “Leaaaaves.” A few peonies in each generation instead take advantage of the extreme environmental stimulus to pursue productive genetic differentiation.

Genetic differentiation has produced peonies with various new natural advantages. Some peony species have acquired new coloration, phosphorescence, increased lifespan, or the ability to speak with bees via “bee telepathy.” Others have become the national flower of China and the state flower of Indiana. It is not clear if the last two are two separate species, which has led leading Sinologists to postulate that China is located in Yellow River County, Indiana rather than the mysterious Orient as Fu Manchu would have us all believe.

Who is Fu Manchu?

Fu Manchu is a hardy perennial terrorist whose large followers often enact his terrible will. He plays a surprisingly critical role in the modern understanding of peony-based nuclear waste disposal.

This insidious mastermind is a poisoner based out of Beijing, a city that may be more familiar to some readers as Peking, Peiping, Indianapolis, or “Northern Peace.” He is a brilliant mycologist who develops many of his poisons from mushrooms (mycorrhizal saprophytes) growing on a picky child who likes Life cereal (Mikey.) He also distills traditional Beijing poisons from his Pekingese—a hardy yappy perennial of the family Ranunculaceae whose large flowers are often neurotic.

Fu Manchu is almost certainly the third-greatest threat to 21st-century America, second only to Al Qaida and Kim Jong-il’s terrifying “Space Terrapin.” Fu Manchu regularly patches his operating system but actively discourages Americans from doing the same to theirs. This creates insidious security holes which he can exploit to his own advantage. For example, when an American fails to patch his or her peonies, it may allow Fu Manchu’s poisoned seeds to take root and steal control over the garden from its rightful owner.

Fu Manchu discourages patching using two principal methodologies. First, he accentuates the natural human tendency towards laziness in patching their systems using his accentuator. Second, he regularly trolls gardening blogs to inform people that they are better off with the original unmodified codebase. His comments are generally flamed as partisan but his insidious ideas sink deep into the minds of his victims. Then those ideas eat those minds and grow mindies, hardy perennial thought-forms of the family Athenae whose large flowers are reknowned for wisdom and beauty alike.

Thanks to the efforts of Fu Manchu an unpatched garden is very dangerous. You might be strolling in such a garden on a sunny day with a cup of delicious iced tea in your hand. Suddenly spiked roots burst from the ground all around you. At this point you are still justified in optimism regarding your day. Then the roots seize your legs and arms and drag you into the air. Now your situation is not quite so excellent as at first it appeared. Struggling is only likely to intensify the problem with your garden’s codebase, causing the universe to segfault and turn blue.

As late as 1972, it was believed that the only viable garden-saving option for an American in this predicament was destroying the world and creating a new one from scratch. Most Americans, spoiled by the culture of victimization and their own unwillingness to work hard, lack the means and motivation to enact this procedure. This encourages Fu Manchu to cackle evilly and declare: “Ha ha! Thanks to insufficient precaution on your part, your decadent American garden has failed!”

That terrible laugh sends chills down a typical person’s spine. It has failed Fu Manchu in at least one case, however—when the blooming mindies of a scientist in this very predicament created the science of peony-based radioactive waste disposal. Terror gave rise to inspiration. She postulated that by spilling her vials of radioactive waste into the peonies she could convert the radioactivity into mutation, which would in turn grow mutinies—hardy perennials closely related to minionies. The large flowers of the mutinies would inevitably turn the large followers of the terrorist against their master, Fu Manchu.

An incredible waste disposal solution. An answer to Fu Manchu.

Two birds. One stone.

The noble peony.