Sunday, 13 July 2014

Bromeliad -- Vriesea carinata

"Vriesea carinata -- Bromeliad", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

As I mentioned in my posting of May 4, 2014, entitled Bromeliads, Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads) are a family of flowering plants of around 3,170 species native mainly to the tropical and sub tropical regions of South America. These days, they can be found growing from Virginia, USA down to Argentina. Areas with a particular abundance of species include Mexico, some regions of Central America, the West Indies, eastern and southern Brazil and the Andean region from northern Chile to Colombia. 

Most bromeliads grow in moist mountain forests between 1500 - 2500 metres altitude where they have cloud envelopment for several hours a day. A few inhabit nearly rainless coastal deserts. Some survive frequent flooding. Others grow so close to the ocean that they are subjected to salt spray that would kill most other plants. However, no bromeliad can tolerate prolonged subzero temperatures, although a few species have adapted to high tropical mountains where nights can be frosty. 

The species Pitcairnia feliciana is the only bromeliad that is not native to the Americas. Its discovery in Guinea in West Africa was unexpected and it is thought to have reached Africa by long distance dispersal around 12 million years ago.

Humans have been using bromeliads for thousands of years. The Incas, Aztecs, Maya and others used them for food, protection, fibre and for ceremonial purposes.  The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the only member of the family used for food, however.

Vriesea is a genus of the botanical family Bromeliaceae. The genus is named after Willem Hendrik de Vriese,  a Dutch botanist and physician who lived from 1806–1862. 

Containing some of the largest bromeliad species, these tropical plants harbour a wide variety of insect fauna. In the wild, frogs may go through their whole life cycle living within a Vriesea bromeliad.
This genus has dry capsules that split open to release parachute like seeds similar to the Dandelion. 

Most Vriesea are epiphytes (a plant that grows non-parasitically upon another plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain instead of from the structure to which it is fastened). They have no roots but have special "hold fasts" but these do not take in any nutrients. All nutrients are taken in through the centre "tank" made by a rosette of leaves.

Vriesea carinata, the flowering plant in the drawing above, is a species of the genus Vriesea. This species is endemic to Brazil. Vriesea carinata is commonly known as lobster claw or painted feather. This bromeliad has branching flower spikes that can be found in a range of colours from yellow/orange-red, violet or pink. 

I, of course, chose to use the yellow/orange-red for my drawing as the yellow-red mix provides some of my favourite colours! I well remember when I first begin using oil paints years ago, I had to constantly discipline myself so that I did not use too much Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red in all my paintings!

Birthday card created by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

I have already used this drawing for a friend's birthday card. You can see the cover of the card in the photo to the left. 

I must say again ... I do like those bright colours! 

Much of the above information was taken from various Internet sources, especially Wikipedia.  



Suki on my bed
(photo/drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014)
Suki must certainly be one of the most cleverly devious creatures on the planet! 

Just when I think I have fixed, put away, hidden, impounded or thrown out every single item that she can use to try to get me to wake up early and feed her, she discovers something new with which to rouse me from my sleep when her tummy begins to grumble soon after 5:00 a.m. 

Believe me when I say that I have "fixed, put away, hidden, impounded or thrown out" all sorts of things. All plastic bags and all wastebaskets lined with such bags are put away in the storage closet prior to my bedtime. As well, the Venetian blinds are tied back tightly so that there is no way to make them rattle. 

Anything that I think she could use for making enough noise to awaken me is also locked away in the closet. Last night, as I looked around my home prior to going to bed, I really could not see anything that I thought she might be able to use to awaken me. But, as I said before, Suki is nothing if not ingenious. 

Not surprisingly, this morning shortly after 5 a.m., I was awakened to the sound of something sliding across the hardwood floor. I knew immediately that it must be Suki making the noise, but I could not figure out what on earth she was doing to create such a soft, swishing sound. After a few minutes of trying to analyze the noise, combined with the useless yelling of "Suki, stop that", I gave in, mentally prepared myself for the pain of moving and got myself up and walking! 

As I slowly turned the corner, I was amazed to find Suki's "scratching post box" from the bedroom sitting in the middle of the hallway. Behind the box, there loomed the dark shape of a very naughty cat who, I could almost swear, was smiling in triumph. 

By the way, this "scratching post box" is about 3 feet long by 1 foot wide and about 3 inches deep. Made of porous cardboard and seasoned with catnip, it is one of Suki's favourite toys. Normally, it sits on the floor by the back wall of the bedroom, moving only slightly when Suki plays with it. This morning, however, Suki had managed to push the box, in starts and stops, all the way from the back of the bedroom to the kitchen (surprise, surprise)! In order to accomplish this, she had been required to push the box under the bed, out the bedroom door, down the hallway, finally reaching the entrance to the kitchen. 

Each push had created a soft sliding sound which, over time, created just enough noise to finally awaken me from sleep. Of course, now I was up and awake! So, after yelling all sorts of unsavoury things about Suki and her ancestry, I gave in and fed her. 

Tonight I guess I will be putting the "scratching post box" into the storage closet along with all the other items Suki has used in the past to get me up and get herself fed. I can only wonder what noisemaker this crazy cat is going to come up with next! I fear that eventually up to half of my possessions will be residing, nightly, in my storage closet! Why did I have to be graced with such a clever feline? 

As for me, other than being slightly sleep deprived, I remain much the same. As you may recall, in last Sunday's posting I mentioned having a medical appointment scheduled for this past week. When the day arrived, however, I felt worse than usual and since it was only a follow-up appointment, I cancelled it. I can reschedule it sometime soon when the pain level will, hopefully, be just a bit lower.

Otherwise, outside of a few visits from friends (including Joycelyn, of course) I have had a very quiet week.  I expect this coming week to be similarly quiet -- for which I am grateful.



May the week ahead be filled with many blessings;
May the trials and difficulties which come our way lead us into greater wisdom and understanding; and, finally,
May the peace of God be with us -- now and always.

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