Sunday, 15 November 2009

Crown of Thorns

Tonight's first drawing is of a plant commonly known as the "Crown of Thorns" plant. Look closely at the right hand side of the drawing and you will see why!

This plant is a woody, spiny, climbing succulent shrub with shoots reaching a height of six feet. One very interesting things about this plant is that the flowers are those tiny things growing in the centre of the colourful pink "petals" which are actually modified leaves or bracts.

The Family name for this plant is Euphorbiaceae; the Genus is Euphorbia; the species is E. milii. The Euphoria part of the name comes from the name of a Greek physician, Euphorbus. He lived in Numidia (present day Algeria) during the time of Christ.

Speaking of Christ, this plant is also know as the "Christ Plant". Tradition has it that this plant was used to make the crown of thorns with which the Roman soldiers are said to have crowned Christ Jesus. Although the plant originated in Madagascar, there is substantial evidence that the species had been brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ. The plants send out thorny stems which are very pliable and could easily have been intertwined into a circle.

If you should come across this plant remember that the sap can cause severe dermatitis on the skin of those who are suspectible and it is poisonous when ingested.

You may recall that on Friday I said that there are actually between 100 to 200 species of Heliconia, and that I was presently working on another, quite different-looking, Heliconia drawing. Well, this is it.

This one is called Heliconia latispatha with the common name of "False bird of paradise." This plant has a very interesting feature which you can see if you look carefully at the drawing: some of the leaves appear to be growing out of the "flowers"! The more I learn about God's creation, the more in awe I am.

Well, Santa came to Toronto today. One of the oldest children's parades in North America made its way through the streets of Toronto once again, ending up almost at my front door! I asked miz k.d. if she would like to attend, but once again she declined. Just 40 more days before the priest places the Christ Child in the creche at midnight Mass. How did the year pass so quickly?

May peace be with you all.

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