never hungry never die

I've always had a problem with the title phrase since childhood. It just felt grammatically uncomfortable for me to say, and it does even today.  It seems the phrase should be either 'never hunger never die' or 'never hungry never dead'. Right? It's a matter of semantics of course,  the syntax is perfectly correct.

Anyhow, I first heard it at the age of 7 from a dear friend and neighbour. I'm not sure if it was her invention, or she'd heard it elsewhere herself, but that was how she referred to the innards of a hibiscus flower - consisting of the ovary and style. A flower is a plant's reproductive organ after all.

Why the bizarre name I hear you ask?  It isn't bizarre actually, once you know the story. The hibiscus flower is basically, mostly, edible the way it is. The petals, the stem, the style and ovary, the whole lot.  If it is clean, you can just pluck it, and eat it. Which is almost exactly what we did - we didn't eat the petals and we didn't care if it was clean or not. We would pull the stem out, suck on the nectar (heavenly), and munch the ovary. Unless it was a hibiscus bud, in which case we'd simply munch the entire lot. The nectar! You have never tasted anything so delicious.

I've never seen the hibiscus in Northern Europe which is why I was so enchanted by them in Spain and Italy. I didn't eat any, of course, as now I'm (supposedly) grown and well aware of what dogs (and some humans) do near plants.

The hibiscus plant in West Africa is as ubiquitous as dandelions are in Europe, so one could always find one to eat.  Never hungry never die. Man, that's such bad grammar.  


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