Big things come in small packages: a holiday pearl
I assume most of you won’t have been given a pearl as a holiday gift this year, but with today’s post you can honestly tell people that you have, because here for the first time since last winter is a picture showing a flower of the pearl milkweed vine, Matelea reticulata. Not many flowers are green, and fewer still have a little pearly structure at their center, but this wildflower not only fits both descriptions but also bears a reticulated design that covers all but the nacreous canopy at its center.
If the post’s title uses the word small, it’s because a pearl milkweed flower is only about a half to three-quarters of an inch across (12–19 mm). With that size in mind, you can understand that the pearly structure at the flower’s hub is tiny indeed.
Marshall Enquist gives the bloom period of the pearl milkweed vine as April–July, which is too short. Geyata Ajilvsgi extends it to October, but that’s still too short, because I’ve often enough found the species flowering near the end of the year, as today’s photograph from my productive December 3rd session along Great Northern Blvd. in north-central Austin confirms.
© 2014 Steven Schwartzman