Thursday, September 09, 2010


If you remember, I last left you wandering the greenhouses of Planting Fields Arboretum.

There is a lot of weird stuff in there. These, for example, are called staghorn ferns:

It's nice to have options if you want antlers on your wall, but you don't want to shoot anything. If I ever own a rustic cabin, I'm putting one of these above the mantle.

These two hanging things also struck me as odd, but I don't know what they are.

Tiny bananas? Peas on a rope?

Here is a freak flower my sister discovered in the dahlia garden:

And one she pointed out in the greenhouse just because it was bizarre and beautiful:

I am going to tell you a secret now. This entire post so far has been a way of working up to the subject of Golden Shrimp Plants. They're fascinating, but they do not sound like it, which is why I did not title this post GOLDEN SHRIMP PLANTS ARE AWESOME. It's all about marketing. Why are they so fascinating and awesome? The clue is in this picture?

This flower is not a flower! As that half-yellow, half-green part in the center kindly demonstrated for me, those things that look like petals are actually leaves. LEAVES! Omigosh. The yellow cone is really a "bract," a modified or specialized leaf protecting a blossom. The funny white wings are the flowers:


 AND ANOTHER. They're everywhere! I didn't even realize it when I was taking the pictures.

Once you start seeing them, you can't stop. Even the big white petal on a calla lily isn't a petal, it's a bract.

The tall part sticking out of the middle is called a spadix, and the flowers are on that. They're teeny tiny. When the bract is particularly wide and surrounds a spadix, it's called a spathe.When a flower has no petals and no sepals, like calla lilies, the technical term for them is "naked."

Bracts! Spathes! Spadices! Nakedness! Is this blog exciting or what?

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