Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Milkweed, NOT

Well, I decided to take a break from milkweed plants and show you an entirely different type of floral drawing!

This is a plant I once knew as Aristolochia elegans. However, it name has been changed and it is now called Aristolochia littoralis. Why this change occurred, I do not know, but I am sure a botanist could tell us. Meanwhile, I will just accept whatever decisions they make.

The Family name of Aristolochiaceae remains the same and the Genus is, of course, Aristolochia. It is also called Elegant Dutchman's Pipe (notice the Sherlock Holmes' pipe shape of the unopened flower in the drawing) and Calico Flower.
I will be using the more common name of "Calico Flower".

The purplish-brown pattern on the surface of the flower is reminiscent of calico fabric, a popular fabric of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You may or may not be familiar with the song: "School Days". There is a line in that old song which goes: "You were my maid in calico; I was your bashful barefoot beau; I wrote on your slate 'I love you so'; when we were a couple of kids."

This plant is native to Brazil and is considered an invasive species in the southern United States. However, with its beautiful foliage, unusual flowers, freedom from pests and ease of growth, it has become quite popular. It is an evergreen vine with large, trumpet-shaped flowers with intricate brownish-coloured markings. It produces winged seeds in dry capsules that split and allow the seeds to escape -- floating like small parachutes.

These are very unusual flowers with heart-shaped, bright, green leaves. You will often see them growing in dense clusters hanging tightly to fence wire. I remember seeing the vine growing in profusion along one whole side of the chicken-wire fence that enclosed one end of our large chicken yard when I was growing up in Alabama. It was very popular with the chickens as there were always bugs or caterpillars hiding in the thick, cool foliage.

I have almost finished the revisions of the Stations of the Cross book. I have changed all the images of flowers that I had thought of using as divisions in the book -- to more suitable images. I have almost finished changing all the typos I had found. I have asked a friend to read it through one more time and she will be doing this over the coming weekend. So by sometime next week, I should be able to place an order for the first finished copy of the book! I am very pleased and this gives me more energy to continue working on the third book in the series.

May peace be with you all.

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