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As part of work today, I attended a coffee party in Swanville, Minnesota. The Swanville town historian (by interest and informal title) invited us to see his house, which contains a fascinating arrangement of various items he and his mom have collected over the years.

Everything in the house seems to have a history, even the plants. One in particular, an unusual vine hanging over the kitchen sink, caught my attention because of its structure.

Cutting of a donkey tail plant, August 24, 2011.

Cutting of a donkey tail plant, August 24, 2011.

The plant is called a donkey tail and these vines hang down like ropes. The Swanville historian told us that his mother got a cutting of donkey tail from Elizabeth Gessell, who had a very full donkey tail plant. The Gessell family is known for raising turkeys in Swanville and methinks it is one of those early town families, but I’d have to research that to be sure.

Before the Swanville historian’s mother passed away  (a few years ago at the age of 95), she told him he needed to keep the plant alive and going. The historian is doing a great job of it, taking regular cuttings to replant and giving them away to those who are interested. I asked for a cutting, which is the one pictured above. Apparently the plant grows easily and I can split this cutting in order to grow additional plants.

How many house plants have histories like this, wherein cuttings are shared among friends and family and the plants continue on long after their original owners are gone?