I’d love to tell you but I’m a mute.

I have this flower in my garden.

I grew it from seed.




For alllllll to see.

So anyone passing by can admire it.

And stare at it.

And be confused by it.

At which point they inevitably ask me …

What is the name of that flower?“.


At which point I feign deafness. Or stupidity.  At the very least I pretend I only speak a very obscure version of Gnome.

I can’t tell them the name of this flower.

I know what it is.  I just can’t bring myself to tell them.

But I’ll tell you.


Try saying that to a curious 16 year old boy.

It’s actually called Celosia Cristata, but its common name is Cockscomb.  Wonder why?  This picture should shed some light on the situation.


Cockscomb On Chicken


Cockscomb.  Ick.  But I guess it’s better than Peniscomb.  Or Johnsoncomb.  Or Thatolepurplethingcomb.

It’s funny what will embarrass me (cockscomb) and what won’t (entire video of me testing a frozen yogourt tampon).  Don’t even get me started on tripping in public or going through the cash of a teenage boy with tampons in my grocery cart.

So what about you?   I’m sure there’s SOMETHING that embarrasses you.

For instance in the case of my mother, what embarrasses her …  is probably me.



  1. Mindy says:

    I had to click over from your garden post to see why you wouldn’t say celosia. I was trying to figure out a naughty world that rhymed or sounded like it. Like the Vulva Seinfeld episode. I understand now. Never heard it called cockscomb before. I’ll stick with celosia.

  2. Bols says:

    I learned recently it’s name is Celosia, never knew about the Cockscomb. Hahaha, live and learn!
    It’s my favourite flower in the fall. Especially the dark purple colour around Halloween time.

    Karen, I never knew you were the voice on MHYM! And I kept wondering why the voice sounds so familiar but I could not place it (I never read the credits). Awesome; I’ll think about when I am watching it the next time (I am sure there will be one or two reruns tonight).

    • Karen says:

      Yep … that’s my show. :) I write some of the script as well. I’ll see if I can’t work Cockscomb into one of the episodes. ~ karen!

  3. Emma says:

    Was doing a home improvement project and needed to run to Home Depot. Since I had little time to finish said project, I ran into the store, saw two male employees in asked frantically and out of breath, “Where’s your caulk?”
    They politely pointed me to the correct aisle and as I ran off, I heard them giggle.

  4. Janet says:

    Laughing so hard I’m crying….pass the tissue! Thanks so much Karen and every one commenting…..You are ALL a HOOT!

  5. Diana says:

    When I worked for “The State” I received a document from a woman trying to get child support from her no-good ex. She had filled out his name, Richard Smith, and his nickname, “Big Dick” In parentheses she wrote “(not really)”

  6. Janelle says:

    Once I was at the paint counter in home depot and a young guy came up and asked where the “caulk remover” was. I instantly burst into uproarious laughter, then realized I was the only one in line who was just that immature. Everyone else was silent. Embarrassing.

  7. Debbie B says:

    Oh hell yeah, I’m getting some next year so I can say it cocks comb, I love talking about my ball cock (toilet part) and horse cock (metal jerry can spout) too

  8. leesa says:

    hi karen! this question may have been asked but i didn’t read ALL the comments… i also have this growing from seed in my garden and i was wondering can you dry this? if so, how? and also, i’ve always wondered how to dry hydrangea. i’ve tried many times unsuccessfully and i know there’s a trick to it but haven’t figured it out. any advice would be greatly appreciated! thanks!

  9. Carol says:

    I do love the look of this plant and don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. You said you planted it from seed? I’ll have to look and see if I can find some for next year. I too, would not be able to utter the name of this plant to anyone who asks, but then again, I can’t remember the names of most of the flowers in my garden and just refer to them by color. As a fairly new reader to your blog, thanks for including your very hysterical link to the yogurt debacle!

  10. Christie says:

    We have a 1960’s version of The Tortoise and the Hare, and every time I read this line to my 3 year old, I inwardly crack up….

    “the Cock swelled up to start the race”….

    ba ha ha ha ha!!!!

  11. Kristina says:

    @Debbie, my dad is Richard, called Dick. As an adolescent I was intermittently mortified by nothing so much as this fact and that he had a belt buckle which proclaimed his name to the world.

    My kids’ middle school has a youngish teacher named Mrs.. Titsworth, which I have always considered unfortunate also…

    • Kim says:

      Went to school with a Richard, who was a Jr., who when by Dick as did his dad. So when you called their house ans asked if Dick was there, they always asked, “Big Dick or Little Dick?” I never knew the polite thing to say.

  12. Crayzmadre says:

    Embarrassing moment: Just recently I sent a picture text to my husband of myself with two balloons stuck up my shirt…did I happen to mention that my husband and father-in-law have the same name? You guessed it…went straight to my father-in-law.Also, my husband thinks it should be called “vag-comb” …that is one visual image I could have done without.

  13. Brenda King says:

    Oh my! You need a tv show! I can’t believe I have never stumbled upon your blog before. You have just become my favorite blogger and I want to be at the same parties as you! I love your wit and sense of humor.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Brenda! I used to have a tv show. I left the tv show(s). Blogging’s more fun. Actually I lie to you. I am on a tv show right now. I’m the voice of My House Your Money. But that doesn’t count ’cause I don’t have to do my hair for it. ~ karen

  14. Natika33 says:

    It is very interesting what embarrasses different people. Not surprisingly many of the comments mentioned tampons or condoms although, for me, I always felt those were the sorts of things you lose your embarrassment over as you age.

    If I ever have teenage kids one day, I plan on telling them, “You’ll know you’re mature enough for sex when you can look the cashier in the eye as you buy condoms.”

  15. Sarah says:

    Which chicken got the do-up? Nice extraction!

  16. Ally says:

    I love your Cockscomb! You have magical fingers!!! ;-)

    Well, I’m not really embarrassed buying tampons, however when my hubby and I shop together at Costco, and tampons are on the to get list which my hubby insists on….that’s another story. He yells loud…”hey sweetie don’t forget the TAAAAMPOOONS!” And especially when there is a coupon he goes…”SWEETIEEEE WHY DON’T YOU GET 3 BOXES OF TAAAAMPOOONS…we’ll save almost 9 bucks!”
    I act like I don’t know him…and he’s cracking up…and so are all the other customers! “hahahaha”


  17. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Cockscomb is very pretty..You should plant different colors together..They are also very pretty dried and hung-up or in flower arrangements..Notice how I didn’t say anything dirty or embarrassing?? Just wanted to show you how sophisticated I am…Ha!

  18. jojo says:

    Ha! Every year, my email filter catches me when I offer friends branches from my tree blooms with with fuzzy catkins (pussy willow). Sheesh!

  19. Kerry says:

    I have always had a problem saying Peonies with out smirking. I grew up with four brothers who called there boy-parts “Pee-nees”.

  20. Debbie says:

    I had to think about this one. Early on buying tampons or birth control was the worst. After giving birth and falling in a gym with first graders, breaking my ankle and wetting my pants not much else really matters. There still is one that gets me to this day. Calling men whose name is Richard, Dick as a shorten name. How that even works I don’t know. In my life for what ever reason they all seem to be elderly men in their 80’s and its just WRONG.

  21. Karol says:

    Walking farts. Enough said.

  22. Chris says:

    I just had a LOL moment! Thanks to the thought that I have gone in several times to any of the DIY stores and asked “Where can I find caulk?” Never once was I embarrassed or even considered it but now I will have to stop myself from cracking up if I ask again!

  23. Evalyn says:

    And then along comes Anne and injects sanity into this dicussion. Crested Celosia. That is a pretty name, much more dignified that Cockscomb, which never bothered me until now. Pussy Willow has always give me pause, but caulk? Not till this very moment. Home Depot will never be the same to me again.

    What embarasses me? Finding out I’ve been asking a 17 year old boy at HD for caulk.

  24. Kate S. says:

    Here’s a weird one for you . . . I vacuum daily (with four dogs and four cats, it’s a necessity). Dirty carpets would embarrass me more, probably, but I’m always a bit horrified when someone comes to the door and I haven’t put the vacuum away. I know it’s irrational, but it feels a bit like having my lingerie exposed to public scrutiny or something.

  25. Leona says:

    Soooooo…. I’m guessing growing pussy willow is a no-go?

  26. Stephanie bray-voorhes says:

    @janie farmer. Please don’t be embarrassed by that question. You have gone through something and come out the other end a stronger woman for it. Please do not be embarrassed by any scar or mark you have from the experience. Each is a badge of honor, each with their own beauty because you are here to give them life. Sorry if this attention embarrasses you, but I know too many people who live their lives trying to hide their scars, and instead hide themselves from the world.

  27. vicki van alstine (@bubbleoffcentre) says:

    k, karen, this is the best post ever!!!! you crack me up! vicki :)

  28. Dawna Jones says:

    I’m not emabarrased to say anything,but my husband won’t pronounce CAULK!properly,he says it makes him feel dirty,which BTW I find kind of sexy!!!

  29. Jacquie says:

    A laugh riot!!! Reminds me of when I asked the very handsome young Home Depot worker guy where his seeds were ;)

  30. Ann says:

    I have always just called it Celosia. Not out of embarrassment but because Celosia is such a pretty word. I do so love the crested varieties and wish I could do better getting it to grow here.

  31. Beks says:

    That flower kind of looks like the stuck up flower with the “glasses” in “Alice in Wonderland,” who first calls Alice a *gasps in horror* weed! I can see it looking down on everything else with a condescending sneer. I suppose it has a right. It’s very pretty.

  32. Lisa says:

    I bought a bunch of this at the farmers market last year. I had never seen anything like it but until this post, still had no clue what it was called!

  33. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    But I, for one, LOVE that word…

    Comb… :)

    You grew such a BIG one! Some might say you have a green HAND and did a good JOB…

    I’ll stop now because I’ll only take this farther into the gutter. Thanks for making my day!

  34. Brenda says:

    I grew up with southern ladies, and was told that a lady never goes into a liquor store. To this day I still am embarrassed to go into one; as if its somehow naughty to do so. I send my husband to get the hooch.

    • Bethany says:

      I’m from the south also, and I routinely take both my kids into the liquor store with me. My husband works long hours, and I can’t always get a sitter for a hooch run, y’know? The thing is, as white-trash as it makes me feel, nobody has ever given me the side-eye, except for a few childless college girls. Everyone seems to realize that there’s a good reason why I need more schnapps at 11 am, and that reason is clinging to my hip like a whiny barnacle. And hey, if a mixed drink makes me a happier, more relaxed mother, then it would be downright irresponsible NOT to go to the liquor store. :)

  35. Sara says:

    You could be all sly and just tell them it’s Roosterscomb… but I’m never sly in those situations, so I’d probably do the same as you.

  36. Kelly C. says:

    I have that stuff coming up all over the place. It really spreads. It is cool looking though.

  37. Lyn says:

    That flower is stunning! I think you should just make up a names for it, a different for everyone who asks. “Oh, you haven’t ever seen an Aviana Olea before?” “That’s the rare Exton Elias” “My favorite, the Shiloh Nouvelle”
    (those are all actually celebrity baby names…)

  38. marilyn says:

    how long do you have? just one thing? surely you jest..

  39. Janie Farmer says:

    Cockscomb, I will have to look that one up. I’m not good at growing from flower seeds. What embarrasses me is when I’m asked if I have a tattoo. I can lie but, my conscience would haunt me the rest of my life. I chose to have the ‘normal’ look after a mastectomy and implant. The aureole is tattooed around the man made nipple.

  40. mimiindublin says:

    Lol at your mother being embarrassed by you, that’s the opposite of my house!

  41. Maureen says:

    Why on earth does the word comb embarrass you?

  42. veronica sandström says:

    Hahahaha…. Say it in Swedish insted. Tuppkam :)
    Tupp=cock Kam=comb ;)

    Have a nice day…
    Veronica In Sweden. (Europe)

  43. Annette says:

    Here in South Africa we just call it Cristata. To me it looks like a piece of brain bobbing about on a plant stem….especially when they begin to turn brown.

  44. Therese says:

    A long time ago . . .sometime in the early 90’s, my boyfriend (now husband) and I went to get condoms from the supermarket. We sheepishly put other things in our basket . . . that we didn’t actually need. At the checkout the cashier held the condoms above her head and shouted into the microphone ‘price check, condoms, counter three’. Nothing else has embarrassed me since that day.

  45. Therese says:

    That is some fabulous flower – and you grew it from seed! You have earned the right to say C*ckscomb however many times you want. You see it’s embarassed me too!

  46. Gayla T says:

    You are sooooo silly! My Grandma told me it’s called that because it looks like the rooster’s hat. Cut a stalk and give it to the girls. I bet they’ll lose their little virgin minds. Now if Grandma would have told me it looked like the rooster’s cock I would have thought cock-a-doodle-do! Tampons,my grandma never talked about.

  47. lemur_lass says:

    I love cockscombs. I used yellow varieties bunched together as part of wedding centerpieces. As a florist/guest all I heard all night were questions about what the brain flowers were. They remind me for deer antlers – all velvety soft.

  48. Angela says:

    Buying pregnancy tests. Living on a military base in a foreign country means there are only 2 or 3 places to buy them and you’re bound to see someone that you know. Yes, we’re trying to get pregnant, but I don’t really want to discuss any of it with my husband’s boss…

    And buying tampons, which is why I order them online. Well, I actually do that so I can get the organic ones, but it saves me embarassment too!

  49. If I’m ever lucky enough to own a house with a garden big enough for planting I’m going to have one of these just because of the name. Sure it’s a good looking flower, but I’m immature enough that it’s the name that draws me in :)

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