Sunday, 14 August 2016

Oxalis versicolor - Candy Cane Sorrel

"Oxalis versicolour -- Candy Cane Sorrel", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Oxalis versicolour, commonly known as Candy Cane Sorrel, produces a number of strikingly spectacular flowers. When open, each of the 1 to 1½" flowers show off five white petals tinged with red.  As attractive as these flowers are in full bloom, they are even more striking when they have not quite opened completely and display a red and white striped pattern – looking for all the world like one of those trees children dream about – a candy tree full of peppermint sticks!

Sadly, the flowers and leaves of Oxalis versicolour – like all members of the genus – contain oxalic acid, giving the leaves and flowers a sour taste. While some people are said to find the taste refreshing, it certainly is not the taste a young child would be looking for when it comes to candy! As well, if you ingest too much oxalic acid, it could prove toxic. 

Oxalis is by far the largest genus in the wood-sorrel family Oxalidaceae. The genus occurs throughout most of the world, except for the polar areas. Species diversity is particularly rich in tropical Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Today’s featured plant is native to South Africa.

Oxalis is Latin and was derived from the Greek word “oxus” meaning sour -- referring, of course, to the taste of oxalic acid which is found particularly in the leaves and roots of these plants. The term “versicolour” originated in the early 18th century and was created by combining the Latin word “versus” (changing or turning) with the word colour.

"Oxalis convexula", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010
Although Oxalis is a large genus, I have only tried drawing one other member of this grouping, Oxalis convexula, which I featured in a column back in 2010.  The flowers of this particular wood sorrel are normally pink in colour; however, back in 2010, I was experimenting with some software that allowed me to change the colours of a drawing with one keystroke.  So, I ended up with blue flowers and a drawing which I enjoy revisiting even to this day. 

Some portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


My boys stay very busy these days doing lots of interesting things, including:


The boys feed the goat -- with a bit of help from their Dad!

Braden shows his little brother how to milk a cow!


Braden gently holds Python reticulatus!

Ro reaches out eagerly to pet Python reticulatus!


The brothers take a "road trip" in this vehicle with two steering wheels!  


Playing safe -- and enjoying the water!

Braden turns out to be the tallest boy in his first martial arts class!



Suki the Contemplative!
The vet telephoned me on Wednesday of this past week to see how Suki is doing.  She asked me two specific questions regarding Suki's health...

First, she asked me if Suki's medication appeared to be managing her pain; secondly, she asked whether Suki had thrown up again since we had last adjusted the amount of the pain medication she was taking.  I answered "yes" to her first question and a cocky "no way" to her second.  

Now, I'm thinking that perhaps I jinxed the situation when I assured the vet that Suki was doing fine and hadn't had any problems with anything, including throwing up just after eating.  And why would I think that I had jinxed things?  Well, because that very evening, shortly after Suki finished eating her supper, she threw it all up again!

Then Friday night, shortly after I had given Suki a bedtime snack, I heard the unmistakable sounds of Suki "losing her cookies" as they say.  Half an hour later, after cleaning things up, I collapsed into my own bed.  As I fell asleep, I was trying to figure out what I should tell the vet when I telephone her on Monday!

Poor Suki... she has enough problems without having this food problem as well.  Thankfully, she hasn't thrown up again since Friday night; however, from now on, I will never again be so cocky when it comes to reporting on Suki's health.

As for me...

It was another quiet week with no medical appointments or any other kind of appointment!  Joycelyn came to help me at her regular times throughout the week, I visited with my neighbour, as usual, on Friday morning and several dear friends telephoned me. In fact, I expected this past week to be without anything unusual or unexpected.

Then on Thursday I received an email from a dear friend I had not seen in a year and from whom I had not heard for at least the past six months.  Her email told me that she in visiting her family here in Toronto and that she was hoping she could come and visit me while she was here.  I replied immediately, telling her that she was welcome any time.  In response, I got an email asking if a visit on Saturday (yesterday) would be OK.  My reply was "Yes, yes, yes!". We had a wonderful visit and even celebrated her birthday (today) with coffee and trifle!   

As for the week ahead, it should be another quiet one, but, then, I thought that was going to be the case for this past week as well. We just never know, do we?



"Icon -- Christ the Teacher", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2014

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  Luke 12:49-53

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