The Other Dr. Meredith W. Morgan

You have to be circumspect if you’re going to walk around with a book having Prick stencilled in large print on its cover.

But I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a copy of this marvelous book about cacti and succulents authored by Gynelle Leon. Gynelle is an award-winning photographer who holds an MSc in forensic science. She also has a background in finance and fraud prevention, but what piqued her interest in succulents were the cacti in Yves Saint Laurent’s landscaped gardens (Jardin Majorelle), in Marakech in 2011. That ultimately lead to her opening the doors to Prick, an east London boutique shop offering the most unusual and exotic succulent plants sourced from countries around the world.

Gynelle remarks in her book that she has always seen cacti and succulents as living sculptures that take years to develop. There is great joy in living with these undemanding plants, and Gynelle is an enthusiastic proponent as evidenced in this short clip of her as the flower crown ambassador of 2020.
It is intriguing to see how these prickly plants derive their names. Some of them are intuitive, such as the Euphorbia Candelabrum, which features branching stems that smack of candlesticks.

There are others that are less intuitive, or even non-intuitive, drawing their names from specific individuals associated with them. Such as the case for Sedum Morganianum, pictured here.

The succinct story of this succulent is presented in Gyenelle’s book as follows:

I did a double take when I read that, as the Dr. Meredith W. Morgan I knew was an iconic optometric educator and clinician, quite proficient in binocular vision. He served as Dean of U.C. Berkeley College of Optometry, and was the first full time academician to serve as President of the American Academy of Optometry. Turns out the enthusiast to whom Gynelle is referring was his father, also an optometrist, Dr. Meredith W. Morgan, Sr. The connection is here, in Dr. Morgan Jr’s Berkeley School of Optometry Hall of Fame biography.

2 thoughts on “The Other Dr. Meredith W. Morgan

  1. In the mid nineteen eighties, we were together on the exam committee of the National Board of Optometry. It was enjoyable to interact with him. His paper or ARC is one of the best in the literature.

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