I wouldn’t be stunned should you instructed me Leucospermum cordifolium (Nodding Pincushion) grew on Mars. The alien flower has a thick, inflexible stalk supporting a number of tightly sure leaves. Atop is a spiny, golden crown — like stray hairs on a balding man’s scalp. A dandelion on steroids. You would’ve instructed me Leucospermum cordifolium swallowed the solar, and I might’ve believed you with out hesitation. The flower calls for a warning signal: Do Not Look With out Eye Safety. Like an eclipse.
My boyfriend, on Wednesday, sweetly gifted me a hand-picked bouquet of Leucospermum cordifoliums and blue Eryngium planum (Flat Sea Holly). I liked the flowers however laughed once I obtained them. An extraterrestrial-looking bouquet of electrical blues and yellows. A far cry from crimson roses or white lilies. Eryngium planum appears to be like like a prop from the 1993 movie “Coneheads.” I cared for the flowers as I might look after roses or lilies. I snipped the stems (stalks, in Leucospermum cordifolium’s case) and put them in a transparent vase with water.
The bouquet has lived within the vase on my desk for the previous few days. It’s a sight for sore eyes, a welcomed reprieve from assigned readings and weekly p-sets. Leucospermum cordifoliums and Eryngium planum collectively are shockingly lovely. I’m struck by their strangeness every time I gaze of their path. Why are they that shade? In what world, on what planet, do their shapes make sense? And but, someway, Leucospermum cordifoliums and Eryngium planum are comparatively primary on the planet of flowers. Our planet boasts a beautiful provide of bizarre flowers.
Take, as an illustration, Dionaea muscipula (Venus Flytrap). It’s generally bought in grocery shops, like Dealer Joe’s, with peonies and sunflowers. Dionaea muscipula comes coiled collectively, like a snake, in a plastic pot and a sheath of flexible plastic. In our massive fingers, swathed in see-through plastic, Dionaea muscipula appears to be like tame. Their peculiar form is interpreted as a comic book oddity — innocent and entertaining. Thank goodness we’re people as an alternative of small, flying bugs. I can’t think about a extra horrifying dying. One second you’re a joyful bug, luxuriating in Dionaea muscipula’s intoxicating nectar. Half a second later, you’re trapped inside a lethal chamber, seeing the surface world from the gaps between Dionaea muscipula’s enamel. Hopefully, you gained’t be aware when it begins digesting you. However understanding the cruelty of the animal world, you is perhaps. Its acid will break your physique down into important nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. Per week later, Dionaea muscipula spits your skeleton, prepared for its subsequent meal.
How do all issues that chunk take the form of a mouth? Dionaea muscipula has, undoubtedly, survived lots of of years of evolution and specialization. Its present type is optimized. Its current type is a ruby mouth, snapping jaw and gnarled enamel, much like the orange excavators that I see at building websites. Scooping piles of filth and grit into its metallic intestine. However Dionaea muscipula shouldn’t be the one mouth-shaped flower. Psychotria elata (Hooker Lips) resembles crimson puckered lips, as you could guess from its widespread identify. It has adopted a barely extra alluring and seductive technique than the Dionaea muscipula.
I’m always stunned by how usually nature copies its personal designs. Many orchids mimic acquainted faces and shapes. We’ve got, after all, Orchis italica (Bare-man Orchid). Orchis italica grows in lots of clusters, and to the untrained eye, would seem like garden-variety Hyacinths. In case you ever end up within the Mediterranean area, strolling alongside the coast, the Hyacinth may very well be Orchis italica — a a lot rarer and fascinating flower. It’s a purple flower that takes the type of a unadorned man with two eyes, two arms and two (three) legs. We can also’t overlook about Dracula simia (monkey orchid), which uncannily takes after a monkey’s face, or Ophrys apifera (bee orchid), which because the identify suggests, appears to be like like a bee. Typically I’m satisfied that we’re pushing our interpretations onto nature. Our inferior temporal cortex trains us to acknowledge faces and patterns. But there should be patterns and faces in nature for us to choose up on it within the first place. Possibly that is all a coincidence, or possibly it isn’t. Orchids don’t have eyes. How do they know what a monkey, bee or bare man appears to be like like? Maybe nature simply mirrors itself.
Regardless of this, there are nonetheless some flowers that insist upon their individuality. Rebellious and uncompromising to nature’s repeated designs, like highschoolers written by adults. Leucospermum cordifolium and Eryngium planum are examples of such flowers. In a world that values uniformity, these bizarre flowers remind us that there’s splendor in singularity. As I stare upon my Leucospermum cordifolium and Eryngium planum bouquet, I’m struck by how one thing so otherworldly can convey such surprise into my life. And who is aware of? Maybe someday we are going to uncover that Nodding Pincushions do develop on Mars in spite of everything. Till then, I’ll proceed to marvel on the unusual and engaging world of flowers proper right here, on Earth.
A while has handed, and Eryngium Planum (the blue coneheads) have began bending. They study in the direction of the lamp on my desk, looking for synthetic daylight. Mud settles finely over remaining, weird spines of Leucospermum cordifolium. The water stage of the vase is slowly sinking like Lake Lag. Quickly, the flowers will get previous and I’ll should toss them. I’m wondering what is going to fill my vase subsequent. Child’s breath? Tulips? Carnations? Or possibly one thing a bit weirder, like daisies.