Sunday, 1 October 2017

Wildflower Repeats

"Anemone nemorosa - Wood anemone", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From my blog posting dated 10 June 2010 (seriously revised): 

The proper name of this plant is Anemone nemorosa of the Family, Ranunculaceae. It flowers early in the spring and, while it can be found in many gardens throughout North America, it is actually native to Europe. There is a similar plant, Anemone quinquefolia, which is native to North American, but it normally has only 5 “petals” instead of six. 

As with all Anemones, A. nemorosa has no true petals. What appear to be petals are really sepals which have assumed the colouring and characteristics of petals. These sepals are normally white in colour although, occasionally, the colouring is pale pink or blue. The dark, green leaves are divided into three segments and the flowers, produced on short stems, are held above the foliage with one flower per stem. Sadly, this gentle-looking plant is bitter to the taste as well as being poisonous.

In sunshine, the flower expands fully, but at the approach of night, it closes and droops its head so that dew may not settle on it and injure it. The same thing occurs when it rains. Country folk in the past used to say that the fairies were what actually caused the plant to close at night and in the rain as it gave the wee sprites a "tent" to keep them warm and dry. 

The genus name, Anemone, is taken from the Greek and means “wind”. The specific name, nemorosa, is derived from the Latin and means “of the woods” or “woodland”.

"Gomphocarpus physocarpus (Asclepias physocarpa) - Balloon Plant"
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From my blog posting dated 6 March 2013 (revised): 

Gomphocarpus physocarpus is a species of milkweed. This plant, commonly known as the Balloon Plant, is native to southeast Africa. In 2001 its name was changed from Asclepias physocarpa to Gomphocarpus physocarpus to reflect that it is in the family of African milkweeds and not the North American variety. The name "balloon plant" is an allusion to the swelling, bladder-like seed pods. 

Gomphocarpus physocarpus is a perennial herb, that can grow to over six feet. The plant blooms in warm months. It grows on roadside banks, at elevations of 2800 to 5000 feet above sea level. The flowers are small, with white hoods and about 1 cm across. The leaves are light green, shaped like a lance and 3 to 4 inches long. 

Gomphocarpus physocarpus is widely used in traditional medicine in South Africa. The roots are used to treat stomach ache. Leaves are dried and ground into a powder that is taken as snuff for headaches. The milky latex is used to treat warts. Seeds are blown away from the pods as a charm to placate the ancestors. The stems are used for fibre. These treatments seem a bit risky, however, as this plant is poisonous if ingested. 

The genus name of Gomphocarpus is derived from the Greek gomphos meaning “a club” and karpos meaning “fruit”. The species epithet of physocarpus is derived from the Greek physa meaning “bladder” and karpos meaning “fruit”, referring to the inflated, bladder-like fruits.

"Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From my blog posting dated 21 August 2009: 

The drawing above is of "Virginia Bluebells" a member of the Forget-Me-Not family.

The above text is all I had to say about this plant back in a 2009 posting.  However, I would now like to add a bit more information...

Mertensia virginica, commonly called Virginia bluebells, is a native North American wildflower. It occurs throughout the southern U.S. and much of southern Canada in moist, rich woods and river floodplains. 

M. virginia is an erect, clump-forming perennial which grows to between 1 - 2' in height and features loose, terminal clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped, sky-blue flowers which bloom in early spring. The flower-buds are pink and flowers emerge with a pinkish cast before turning blue. The leaves are smooth, oval and medium-green in colour. Foliage dies to the ground by mid-summer as the plant goes dormant. 

The genus name, mertensia, honours Franz Carl Mertens (1764-1831), professor of botany at Bremen University. The specific epithet, virginica, means “of Virginia”.

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


"Now what could Suki be thinking about?"
(photo by Jaleh G., 2017)

Suki and I have had several visitors during the past two weeks and one of them, my friend, Jaleh, took a lovely shot of Suki perched on the arm of the sofa.  It really looks as though she is contemplating something rather serious.  

Personally, I don't believe she was thinking about food as Suki had only had her lunch about an hour before the photo was taken.  As well, she had been getting lots of attention from both Jaleh and myself so she was unlikely to be thinking that she was neglected.  

No, Suki seems to be contemplating something much more serious -- like how to manage to catch one of those pigeons she sees from the window, always tormenting her by sitting out on the balcony railing just out of reach!

Anyway, Suki has once again been reasonably well-behaved during the 14 days since my last posting.  She continues to awaken me too early for my liking (6 a.m.) although, for some unknown reason, yesterday morning (Saturday) she let me sleep until 7.

Of course, her sleep, as well as mine, has been very disturbed over the past five days.  Let me explain...

About 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I was awakened by severe pain in my lower back on the left side and all down my left leg.  When I attempted to get up and see if that would ease the pain, I found, to my dismay, that my left leg was not only painful but was also weaker than normal.  Meanwhile, I continued to have these burning pains shooting down my leg from my back.  As a consequence, I have had to increase all my pain medications including those for neuropathic pain.  

During these past days, it has been impossible to get a full night's sleep.  While I find that I eventually fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, after a few hours, I am awakened by the pain which never seems to go away.  Even now, as I write this, I am having to try to ignore the pain which persists no matter whether I am sitting, standing or lying down.

As well, I now have to use my walker for every activity.  Prior to Monday, I could usually manage at home by holding onto various pieces of furniture and could even go short distances without holding onto anything.  Now, however, I find that I can barely walk even with the walker as the least little movement in the wrong direction causes such awful pain as well as leg weakness.  I fear this means a return to using a wheelchair and I do find that idea to be rather depressing.

I did see a couple of my doctors during the past week (these were appointments that had been scheduled some time previously) and, although they both checked on my back and leg, they could offer nothing in the way of a "quick fix".  Each doctor said that this latest difficulty is most likely just the continuing progression of the disease I have in my spinal cord.  I have always been told that the prognosis for this disease is gradual worsening, with or without treatment, and this certainly seems to be the case.

So, as you can imagine, I am not at all certain what the future holds in store for me.  It is so difficult now to perform even the simplest tasks which leaves me wondering how much longer I can manage with Joycelyn just coming in three days a week.  In fact, I am uncertain as to whether I will be able to continue my computer drawing or even this blog for very much longer as even sitting in my special computer chair is painful.  I am also having to seriously think about whether it is time for me to consider the possibility of moving into some sort of full-care facility or, perhaps, taking some other action.

Meanwhile, I hope to be able to post again in two week's time.  If , for any reason, that is not going to happen, then I will certain post a note here to that effect.  Whatever the decision, I will not leave without saying goodbye.

On a happier note, we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in Canada on Monday, October 9th.  So "Happy Thanksgiving" to all my fellow Canadians.  

To all those who read this blog posting, I wish loads of happiness and joy for you and your dear ones in the days ahead.

Peace be with you all.

"Autumn's End", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.


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