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Trapa Natans Dynasty

An Unfortunate Tale Based on the Truth


by Karen Jean Smith


   Once upon a time, in a land far far away, lived a species known as the Trapa Natans.  They were content in their homeland, and lived in quiet harmony with their neighbors, generously providing a food source for animal and human alike.  


    One dark day,  an aggressive and more mobile species kidnapped the Trapa Natans and transported them to a quiet waterway in a land quite foreign to them. There was really no harmful intent at the time.   Naivete` prevailed, and the future was forever altered for the worse.


    At first the Trapa Natans found the grand expanse of clean water in this  new environment strange and daunting.  They soon discovered, however, that there were no natural predators; that is, no one in the form of animal or human was interested in devouring them.  This,  along with their collective will to survive, caused them to multiply exponentially. Eventually they conquered  the waterways of their captors and established the highly destructive and therefore infamous Trapa Natans Dynasty.  


    Since the time of the unfortunate kidnapping over one hundred years ago, the Trapa Natans Dynasty has spread far and wide in the Eastern United States.  The green rosettes of the family leaves are like canopies growing  thickly over the heretofore pristine lakes and rivers,  thwarting the passage of fishing vessels, jet skis and pleasure boats alike. Worse yet, these same canopies trap the heat of sunlight in the dark and murky waters below, causing native species like fish to die or flee to more congenial habitats.  


    The hearts of the kidnapper species filled with regret as they watched the Trapa Natans accomplish their “coup de l’eau.”     No more fishing!  No more boating!  No lovely views from the dock!  Furthermore, should the youngest of the offspring, a nut, land on shore, the tender undersurface of a foot could be oh-so-painfully penetrated with a barb!   

    The kidnapper species responded with anger and aggression.  They deemed that all Trapa Natans would be classified as “invasive” and a war would be waged   to   annihilate   all   members  of   the    Trapa

Natans Dynasty.   They gathered many forces - environmentalists, fishermen, recreational boaters  and companies with interests in water quality. They raised taxes and distributed brochures.  Would-be soldiers descended on the waterways in canoes, rowboats, kayaks and barges to pull up the plants, take them ashore and load them into dump trucks. Similarly, tanks in the form of mechanical harvesters combed through the water, removing whatever they could - Trapa Natans as well as unsuspecting innocents! The piles of plants were monstrous and the stench of their rotting intolerable.  The battles were long, hard and expensive.  


    When the campaigns against the Trapa Natans  were finished, and the waters appeared free of the “invasives”, members of the kidnapper species looked with satisfaction upon the newly cleaned surface of the water. One could almost hear them say “Well, that takes care of that.”


    But the unfortunate truth lay in wait.   After the first attempts to eradicate them, the Trapa Natans reappeared the following year in force.  Young nuts  had escaped during the eradication efforts and floated to the bottom of the waterways, hiding there until the snows had fallen and then melted away again.  In fact, many would remain viable for twelve years.  Thus, the kidnapper species is destined to remain at war with the Trapa Natans throughout eternity.


    While it appears that the Trapa Natans will continue to thrive, the kidnapper species will not live happily ever after.


The End
of the Beginning

Ouch, the Family Dog

Silent though he may be, the true nature of this aggressive cur is easily provoked by a mere footstep on his toes.  The experience is always a painful one.


Rosette, High Princess

of the Trapa Natans

In the full bloom of her youth, she is at her most beautiful and seductive.  Beware, however, for she does not care whom she hurts
and there will be many!  She is devastation lying in wait.


Barbs, the Family Cat  

As vicious a villain as ever there was,  her delight in inflicting pain is more than palpable.  Left untreated, the suffering from her barbarous wounds will only increase.


Princess Nutlette

True to the character of all the family members,
she is self centered to her very core!  Still very young,  she is already aware of how to force her will upon others.

Prince Nuisance

This babe, the youngest of the family members, embraces life with both innocence and enthusiasm.  Unrestrained, he will soon prove to be as destructive as his forbears.


The story that appears above is part of this grouping, and has been professionally printed on PVC board.

Nutorious, High Prince

of the Trapa Natans

He is anxious to make his mark upon the Kingdom if not overtake it altogether.    Unbridled as well as ambitious, he will sow his seed far and wide, conquering previously undefiled waters.


Invasivious, King of the Trapa Natans
 Intrusivia, his Wife and Queen

Together they rule the infested waters.  Being mature, they are at their most evil, for they can begin each season of procreation with forty offspring, a number that will grow and multiply further.

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