Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Malvaviscus arboreus

"Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii is a species of flowering plant in the hibiscus family, Malvaceae (Mallow Family) is native to the Southeastern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. The specific name, arboreus, refers to the tree-like appearance of a mature plant. 

The variety name of this plant, "var. drummondii" is named for Thomas Drummond, (ca. 1790-1835), naturalist, born in Scotland, around 1790. In 1830 he made a trip to America to collect specimens from the western and southern United States. In March, 1833, he arrived at Velasco, Texas to begin his collecting work in that area. He spent twenty-one months working the area between Galveston Island and the Edwards Plateau, especially along the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers.

Malvaviscus arboreus goes by many English names including Turkcap, Turk's Turban (said to resemble a Turkish turban because of its overlapping petals), Drummond's Wax-Mallow, Ladies Teardrop , Manzanilla, Sleeping hibiscus and Scotsman's Purse. Its flowers do not open fully (hence the name of “Sleeping Hibiscus”) and the flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

This plant is one of those listed in the catalogue of edible Texas plants.  The photo below shows you all the edible parts at a glance including the fruit (which I did not include in my drawing above).  Following are the instructions I found on how to properly use the plant...

You can eat the flowers, fruits, and young leaves of Turk's Cap
 either raw or cooked. They are high in calcium and vitamins A and C.

Malvaviscus arboreus leaves should be washed immediately and can be stored for a couple of days fresh. They can also be preserved like grape leaves. The flowers are extremely perishable and should be plucked just before they are served fresh on a salad. You can also dry the flowers and make a hibiscus-like tea out of them.  Malvaviscus arboreus is also known as the "Mexican apple plant" for obvious reasons!  As well, the name of Manzanilla (see above) also makes sense as it is Spanish for "little apple". Whatever their size, Mexican apples shrivel quickly due to their low water content and should be eaten or processed soon after harvest.  The taste of the fruit is somewhat sugary with a flavour somewhere between an apple and a cucumber -- very refreshing, I'm told.  The fruit can be reduced to juice and served by itself or mixed with other drinks.



Well, I am posting these photos; however, I do hope the RCMP doesn't happen to see them.  I don't want to get anyone in trouble, especially the Easter Bunny, but here it clear, pictorial evidence of an almost year old child being "turned on" to one of the most addictive stimulants known to mankind:  CHOCOLATE!  

The pictures speak for themselves as to the predictable outcome: elation, happiness and that look that says "Gimme more"!

"I wonder what this stuff is that the Easter Bunny brought me?
I think I will just try a little bite..."

"WOW!  I like that a lot!  Gimme more!  



Suki was very upset with me because
I forgot to post her Easter card last Sunday!

So, here it is now...
Suki continues to be very distressed about where she should be sleeping!

The problem is that with my new bed, I have too much furniture in my bedroom.  Thus, in an somewhat futile effort to make everything fit nicely, I continue to re-arrange.  This means that Suki continues to be distressed.

Just yesterday, for example, I realized that one of my three-drawer storage chests (used for storing computer supplies, paper, etc.) would fit perfectly under my desk.  So, under it went.  Unfortunately, this chest was part of Suki's new "pathway" to the window sill. 

So, I realized that I had to set up another new pathway for her.  As I gazed around the room, I realized that another small chest, used for storing clothing, would fit nicely under the window between the desk and Suki's "condo".  With help I moved this into place and stepped back to admire my handiwork.  

Suki appeared at this point and as I pointed out to her what a good job I had done, she simply ignored me and walked over to where her pathway to the window sill once stood, looked at me mournfully and meowed.  I reassured her that all was well and picked her up to begin teaching her to use her new pathway.

I placed her on the floor briefly and pointed to the small chest of drawers, telling her that it would be an easy jump for her to get to the top.  She tried to leave at this point, but I was determined and so I placed her on top of the chest.  Surprisingly, Suki did not seem at all interested in what I was trying to teach her!  Anyway, ignoring her lack of interest, I showed her how close the window sill was to her as she stood on top of the chest.  Then, since she did not seem inclined to jump up at this point, I gently placed her on the sill, telling her how easily she could make the jump.  

Finally, I pushed her the short distance between where she was on the window sill to her crow's nest bed and helped her into the bed itself.  She stood there for only a moment before jumping out of her bed, onto my bed and heading quickly for the door!  I felt I must be losing those teaching skills I was once so proud of!  

Later, however, I saw that she had learned her lesson well as she came into the bedroom and, using her new path, climbed into her crow's nest bed and went to sleep -- for a while.  I noticed though that she was not sleeping soundly and in a short time she got up and jumped onto my bed again.  She tried to sleep there for a while, but couldn't seem to settle down.  Next I saw her go into the living room and try to settle down in the wing-back chair.  Soon, though, she returned to the bedroom where I was working at my desk.  She really does like to be where I am even if she is just sleeping!

This time, she sat in front of me, looked up mournfully and meowed -- such a sad meow it was.  I knew what the problem was:  I had been moving things around since last Wednesday and she was worn out with trying to figure out where to sleep.  So, last night when she came and curled up beside my feet as I was going to sleep, I did not even try to encourage her to get into her own bed.  Surprisingly, she stayed next to me most of the night as she was still there when I awakened about 4:30 this morning for a short time.

Now, today, as I have been writing this account, Suki has been wandering back and forth, trying all her different sleeping places for only a few minutes at a time before getting up and going to another one.  Every so often, she stops, looks at me and meows.  I think I am beginning to feel very guilty -- but I will get over it and Suki will finally settle down and start working on her daily requirement of 16 hours!

As for me, I continue to do much the same.  My 2 concerns remain:  the slow healing of my eyes and eyebrows and the restless leg disease.  

Now, not only do I have issues about the healing of my eyelids and eyebrows, I am also experiencing increasing problems with my eyes again.  Although I continue to be able to see as well as ever, I am now weeping as much as I did 5 months ago!  Whenever I try to read anything or focus carefully on anything, my eyes become painful and the tears begin to flow -- not from pain but from my eyes trying to lubricate themselves sufficiently in order for me to see.  This problem seemed to improve a bit after the surgery in February, but now is returning to the way it had been.  Sadly, I foresee many more trips to the ophthalmologist in the near future!

As for the legs, well... you know the story so there is really no need to repeat it.  Suffice it to say that I am getting closer and closer to going and camping out in the hallway at St. Mike's where my doctor has his office.  I shall refuse to leave until he prescribes one of the two remedies he has discussed with me -- saying that either might give me real relief but that he would rather wait and see if the iron supplements can begin to quieten the RLS first.  Meanwhile, I get to remain very sleep deprived!  I can't count the number of times in my life that doctor's have used me for their medical research -- both with and without my agreement!  Often telling me after the fact, "you know I never tried this before but I thought it might work!"

So, other than these little problems, things are going fine!  Seriously, in comparison with so many, I am not doing too badly and I really am grateful for the many blessings God gives me each day.  In so many little ways, He shows His love for me -- just as He does for each one of us if only we are willing to open our eyes and our hearts to see it.

I continue to pray that all of you are enjoying the blessings of the holy season of Easter -- and for those of you who do not celebrate Easter, I pray that the gift of God's springtime sunshine will fill your hearts with joy.  Even though so many parts of the world continue to have winter-like temperatures, you can't help but realize, as you feel the increasing warmth of the sun each day, that spring is coming and will be here in all its glory soon.

May the peace of God be with us all as we join with all the saints and angels, the holy souls and all our dear ones here on earth in the continuing celebration of the new life of Easter.  
Alleluia, He is risen!  

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