Yeah, have some more flowers why don’t you?

Did you like the pretty and flowering things I shared last week? Well, good sir and madam, you are in luck. Because things are still flowering and blooming and looking nice this week as well. It’s a small window of time, it seems like, before we begin to lament the changing of all outdoors, so let us concentrate on it intently. Shall we?

I’d like you to meet my friend, Eryngium yuccifolium, but if Latin isn’t your bag, you can call it the far superior Rattlesnake Master.

It is a tall grass prairie land plant, and if it wasn’t in a landscaped box on the corner of a city street you might still see it around these parts. It is one of those prolific parts of the parsley family. Sometimes you can find it in places as far away from the prairie states as Florida and Delaware.

The common name, by the way, comes from the plant’s use in some Native American cultures. It has nothing to do with the balls of the fruit, which don’t rattle, or the way they can feel like you’ve been hit by a viper, but part of the plant was used in some instances as a snake venom counteragent. Also, this plant is great for restorations and sends out a 50,000 watt signal to insects. It is very popular with bees, beetles, butterflies and any wasp that can make it over for a visit.

Fibers from that plant were also used in making shoes. The Internet is just full of useful information, if you ask me.

You might also enjoy this Hibiscus grandiflorus, or swamp rose-mallow hibiscus. They sport five large petals, they’re all velvety soft, as you would expect from a hibiscus. The shrub itself can grow to about six-feet, but this particular guy is a long way from home. Usually you’ll see this in the Gulf Coast states and in more swampy, wetland areas. Why it’s growing in an alley here is a mystery.

There’s probably a holiday gift story behind it. A present sat on the back window of a car on the drive back up here. And then the thing died, and someone put it outside at work. The next time somebody noticed there was a new growth, and then the flower crept up, sickly and weak. Some good shade, some good rain and now it’s sitting right there on the corner of the property. An aunt’s neighbor shared a cutting and now it is in a tiny alley behind a side street of a small business and it’s just waiting for its next act.

Pixar would do movies about this sort of thing, you know, if plants had mobility. The animators could give them all the agency in the world, and the flowers would be great clues to their personality. You know this one would be the biggest diva in the second act of the movie. There wouldn’t be a spinoff character, but there would be a laugh, and some plastic toy version, modeled after the animation. So it wouldn’t be quite right, but it would be close enough. But since this flower didn’t get the really poignant stuff, like the rose, or the active shots, like the ivy or daises or the daffodil, it wouldn’t sell well. You’d see it in bargin bins at knock off stores within a season, and no one would buy the things. Just another bit of plastic to step on in the middle of the night and inspire a new hit from Kraftwerk. And then one day there would be a revival. These things which they couldn’t move for eight bucks, so they discounted to three on account of the lesser displays and the damaged packaging, would suddenly be pulling down $45 or 50 dollars, more in the original packaging. And a kid would scream. The kid would have to have it. They’d just diiiiie if they couldn’t get it and the Gen Z parent would think back on when they had almost the complete set of these guys and they’d roll their right into their kombucha when they got a Gryzzl alert about a live action movie remake. Hollywood has no new ideas anymore, they’ll say, and meanwhile the kid is hyperventilating because Jan has it and I neeeeeeeed it and Jan! Jan! Jan! And sure, that’s not even grammatical, but kids these days, am I right? And then you’d hit on the idea! It’s perfect! It’s cheaper! And it’s beautiful! “Let’s just go, honey, over to the greenhouse and get you a real hibiscus. Your grandma can show you how to re-pot it.” And that’s when you’ve lost your kids forever.

Stupid Pixar movies.

There are 1,500 species in this particular family — including okra, which we enjoyed as a part of our dinner last night — and some of these mallows range into Canada. Maybe this particular one just needed some space.

Tonight we enjoyed tostadas, so I fully expect to run across some tortilla plants or pepper, onion or bean bushes tomorrow.

Comments are closed.