Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blink and you'll miss it


I hope the hymn-writers union doesn't mind me borrowing their line about "all creatures great and small" when discussing "all things bright and beautiful" because I'd like to toss in a lyric delighting in "all flowers great and small" if I can. It was only last Friday that I posted some photos and words about our most spectacular bloom, our Scadoxus. Well, this warm and sunny Sunday morning I think it's time to throw in a teensy little speck of balance by stopping to admire the tiniest, least spectacular flower that is also in bloom in our garden right now.

Here it is, a Vriesia bromeliad flower, trying to go unnoticed.

Just to put things in perspective, my Vriesias began "blooming"
with their colourful bracts back in early May. This photo is
dated May 12, and it wasn't as if I took it on the day the bracts
came out to play. As well as these wall pots I have several
other plants in pots here and they're. They're easy to grow.

When young the bracts are green and red,
but as they age they become yellow and red.
The trick is, however, that bracts aren't flowers.
They might be called "flowers" because they
look great, but they're just extremely evolved
attention getters, and they do that job very well.
However, flowers they ain't.

Over time, little blobs of green develop on the ends of the bracts,
and these finally burst open for the teeny, tiny little white,
fluffy flowers to shyly poke out, hoping to go unnoticed.

The flower stalk itself is no more than
10mm long, and the bloom is only 2mm
across its fluffy width.
To tell the truth, I am not sure what the flower's purpose is in life. Bromeliads prolifically produce babies (called 'pups') as new plants growing up around the base of the mother plant. The mother plant, once it flowers, slowly dies, leaving behind a brood of the next generation to carry on the cycle of life.

So I am a bit mystified as to what the flower's role is here, as the plant doesn't seem to reproduce from either seed or fruit. I guess that's something for me to research and report on one of these days, or maybe I'll get lucky and a kind bromeliad expert will wander past this blog and helpfully tell me what I need to know.

In the meantime, here's a salute to all the teeny, tiny, unnoticed flowers of this world. I'm on the lookout for you, as I'm fascinated by all the different ways of life, and my very modest little garden has plenty of room for you.

1 comment:

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Beautiful flowers, and lovely photos. I love your wall pots.