Four flowers on a ship
August 14, 2007 5:21 AM   Subscribe

There are, apparently, four flowers on a ship. One is the compass rose. Any ideas on what the other three could be?
posted by Nugget to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There are "wind roses" too. Searching on "rose" in a nautical glossary such as this one also yielded "rose box." I'll bet that the fourth "flower" is hidden in there, too, if you look hard enough.
posted by cgs06 at 6:08 AM on August 14, 2007

'Wind rose', and also the expression 'flower of the winds', both refer to the rose compass. So not sure if they count?
posted by Elmore at 6:11 AM on August 14, 2007

North on the compass rose is usually represented by the fleur de lis.
posted by jdfan at 6:17 AM on August 14, 2007

I'm guessing this riddle might be old enough that one of them is the cattail.

The bowsprit maybe? It's at the top of the stem...

The ship's bell?
posted by sfenders at 6:30 AM on August 14, 2007

The Royal Navy and associated persons have a tendency to refer to a waste paper bin as a 'rosie', but I don't know if that would count. Hmm.

I'd say a rose box is probably a good one, a wind rose less so. Are bad puns allowed? If so, there may be flour in the galley.
posted by Lebannen at 6:35 AM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far and they're much appreciated. The nautical glossary link is useful - thanks cgs06 for pointing me in that direction.

I've no idea how old this riddle is, but the cattail's a good guess. Bad puns are always welcome and if I get the definitive answer then I'll stick it up.
posted by Nugget at 7:13 AM on August 14, 2007

Maybe they meant the quatrefoil, which in nautical terms refers to the compass rose. It can be a four-petaled symbol, but sometimes they say it is four flowers put together. Cool question; I'd like to see the real answer.
posted by bluefly at 10:37 AM on August 14, 2007

I think this is one of those tricky word-play riddles: you have the compass rose and the wind-rose, which are two flowers. Presumably, you also have the "flour" in the mess hall. That makes three. There was also a Captain named Flowers, but I doubt that is the fourth flower?
posted by misha at 1:17 PM on August 14, 2007

I'm guessing that the answer isn't too horribly obscure, so (compass) rose, cattail, and the bell sound most likely to me, as they're all very common. I'd also suggest the flag, something every ship has to carry and which is another name for the iris?

Slightly less believable is Jacob's Ladder- the term for a rope ladder, usually the one tossed over the side for people boarding the ship to climb. It's also a shrubby little periwinkle-colored plant.
posted by Gingersnap at 2:52 PM on August 14, 2007

Apparently chamomile is sometimes called sailor's buttons, but I find that about as likely to be part of the answer as the way some people call birdsfoot trefoil the bacon-and-egg flower.

I know where to find dogs, dolphins and the monkey island, but flowers, not so much.

And I heard a rumour that the Chief Steward was a pansy, but, uh, maybe not?
posted by Lebannen at 4:30 PM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: And I heard a rumour that the Chief Steward was a pansy..
Depends on the ship..

Anyways, thanks everyone for the guesses. I believe that, so far, the answers are: compass rose, wind rose and current rose. The fourth could be a rose box which is (apparently), found in engine room bilges.

Personally, I'm hoping it's something more like the Jacobs Ladder or Cattail - much more interesting than an engine part! The quatrefoil answer is an excellent one too. Great play on words and meaning.
posted by Nugget at 2:36 AM on August 15, 2007

Response by poster: An update for anyone interested in the definitive answer: there isn't one yet!

The mariner who set the question has buggered off and left everyone arguing about it. Should I get the answer, I'll post it. If the comments are closed and you want to know, mail me and I'll send it on when (and if), I eventually get it.
posted by Nugget at 2:52 AM on August 23, 2007

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