Xenogamy #atozchallenge


The official meaning of xenogamy is cross-pollination, taking the pollen from one plant and fertilizing a different plant with it. It’s from two Greek words, xenos meaning “stranger” and gamos meaning “marriage.”

Everyone can practice xenogamy, even if they aren’t a horticulturist, farmer, or gardener. You might even say it’s vital. Cross-pollination doesn’t necessarily involve pollen or plants. It can involve a rock musician learning classical works, a ballet dancer learning tap, a horror author reading Regency romance. Or a physicist playing the violin…

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Roger von Oech, who wrote the books A Whack On The Side Of The Head and A Kick In The Seat Of The Pants, suggests developing friendships with people in different fields. Think of what an engineer could learn from a screenwriter, or a musician could learn from a financier, or a salesman could learn from a stand-up comic. And vice versa.

Practice xenogamy in your life!

16 thoughts on “Xenogamy #atozchallenge

  1. Taking it literally, I’ve seen some “Stranger marriages” haven’t you? I kind of agree with Hester that by blogging we are practicing the X word. I didn’t really consider myself a writer before but I think I’m getting the hang of it by following you and the other writers in the bunch. I probably won’t go out and write a novel any time soon but my blog posts might get more interesting ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Hi John – what an excellent word … and one we should be encouraging youngsters to practise and use regularly … always learning – not sure the violin would be my choice … but rather wish I’d spread my wings earlier in life … cheers Hilary


  3. This word is new to me, but I love the concept behind it! I think it’s great for your brain health and creativity to try new things that involve a mix of skills. In the UK education system now they are really pushing such cross-curricular activities.


  4. Fab word for X – I’m guessing it’s pronounced with a Z sound at the beginning alike xylophone etc. and wonder on the confusion that using a word that sounds as ‘zenogamy’ in conversation might bring to someone unfamiliar with the botanical term. So i’m glad to learn it here first. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Thins is a great word and I thought of my dad, a lumberman taken out of school at grade 4 to help his dad sell Rollyโ€™s Good Health Products, and my Uncle who got his PHD at the Sorbonne and was head of the German Dept. At the University of Michigan. Even though they met because of my mom, they became very good friends and learned from one another and enjoyed their company immensely. I often thought my dad was my uncleโ€™s hero the way he followed him around.


  6. This sounds like something every writer stumbles onto at some point.
    “I need to know how to dispose of a body. Not for real, but for this horror story…” LOL
    People wonder how Google comes up with such strange search suggestions… I think it’s from writers not practicing enough xenogamy.
    Great post.


  7. John,

    I’m a horrible gardener of plants but of friends, I like to think I’m an ace at it. I like the idea behind von Oech’s book and I enjoy an array of friends with different personalities, hobbies, skills, intellect, and careers. We can learn much from one another while developing a good relationship as long as there aren’t in snobs in the bunch. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great ‘X’ word!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    A2Z iPad Art Sketch Xenops


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