Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 16th, 2012

Widow’s tears

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Click for greater clarity.

The last post showed a dayflower, Commelina erecta. At the bottom center of that picture, taken near Lake Travis on July 19, was an edge-on view of a keel-like green appendage called a spathe. For whatever reason, the spathe in this species fills with a clear liquid. A slight pressure on opposite sides of that appendage (provided by yours truly, following what I take to be a great Texas tradition) causes drops of the stored liquid to emerge near the vertex of the spathe, as you see in this sidelong look.

Those drops probably account for a colloquial name of this plant, widow’s tears. The most common name, dayflower, comes from the fact that the flowers last only one day, then turn to mush. In a comment on yesterday’s post, shoreacres pointed out a connection between the two names by quoting from the biblical book of Psalms, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” and pointing out that that amounts to a span of one day.

And if you’re willing to let your imaginations take flight, don’t you find that this spathe looks like the beak and eyeless head of some fantastic green bird?

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2012 at 6:09 AM

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