Plant tissues stick to the mind more more readily when you associate them with human beings. I am a sucker for crafty and convoluted mnemonic devices.
Parenchyma: the most superlative-worthy of three sisters, she is the oldest, the prettiest, the smartest and the most murderous. Sly and dandy Parenchyma, in an unknown man’s Persian blue sweater, stepping out of the family car and turning her head this way and that, getting the full scope. She’s a most dedicated actress, playing the part of virginal scholar in class and fleshing herself out during recess, swelling like ripe fruit. Unflappable, she licks at her love wounds like a tiger (hickeys and scorned schoolboys, she can take anything you dole out, dear).
Collenchyma: the buttery, soapstone middle child, she folds her sister’s clothes, packs their lunches and scrubs their backs in the clawfoot tub. The evening the cat Xylem arrives, paws ripped open like chocolate wrappers, it is she who packs him in newspapers and sets him near the ticking oven, she who feeds him syrup and salted crackers. In gratitude, Xylem grants her a ring of daylily fibers that will protect her from harm; she slips it on sweetheart Sclerenchyma’s little finger. Not long after she is hit by a bus.
Sclerenchyma: the baby for whom one older sister perishes, and another is robbed of her true love (dashing Stoma with his pearl cuff-links and breezy countenance). She is the finicky blonde simpleton always found in family trees, removing the cords of her red hood from the branches of paternal morality and descending into the swept-up, deep dark undergrowth. Dumb but desirable, she is on first name terms with nearly everyone in the two grades immediately above and below hers. Her giggles teeter on the brink of innocence and seduction, drawing males and females alike.