Not Your Usual Flower

I think spring has sprung! It is warm and sunny outside. There is a refreshing soft breeze. Birds and animals are out and about. The buds on the trees are turning into leaves. And I am beginning to think about flowers.

The yard of one of my favorites homes from childhood was full of larkspur instead of grass. There were lilacs, morning glorys, roses, marigolds, and violets. Four o'clocks and coxcomb grew along the edge of the sidewalk. That was the front yard.

My mother always planted a full flower garden and made beautiful fresh arrangements to brighten the house and fill it with the aromas of all the flowers. She had many and various kinds but her favorite was zinnias. They came in a wide variety of colors and sizes and filled her arrangements with so much color.

My father was partial to roses so we always had a few bushes around the house. Snapdragons were for kids. If you take a snapdragon and gently squeeze the sides of a blossom you can see the dragon's mouth open and close. It is a family tradition to teach the little ones the magic of the snapdragon.

I am longing for the fragrances and colors now. I try but my flowers never seem to flourish the way my mother's flowers did. I enjoy wandering around town looking at the gardens in all the yards. It is a special time of year.

I also enjoy the unusual. I began to wonder about unusual flowers. I am amazed at how many there are. Allow me to introduce you to a few of them.

Mimosa Pudica has a flower that looks like a wispy lavender dandelion with white beads at the end of the wisps. It is a sensitive flower. The slightest movement will cause it to collapse in upon itself. Not to worry... it does reopen. Of course to touch it will cause the collapse but even a bit of wind will do the trick.

The Hydhora Africana is found in the desert area of Southern Africa. It is a parasitic plant that lives almost entirely underground. The fleshy salmon colored flower looks like a snake rising up from the ground. It is a beautiful flower but smells a lot like feces. That attracts the dung beetles that are needed to pollinate the plant.

Black whiskers that can be as much as 28 inches long are the dominate characteristic of the Black Bat Flower. It has a delicate maroon-black blossom and looks like a bat. The diameter of the flower can be as large as one foot. It can grow to 36 inches high. It is native to Southeast Asia.

One of the most beautiful European ariods is the Dracunculus Vulgaris, also known as the Voodoo Lily. It has a black appendage that unfolds and grows to more than 4 feet tall. The rest of the flower looks like a magnificent red cape that becomes up to 3 feet high. This gorgeous bloom smells like rotten meat. It is also extremely poisonous.

Orchids are considered to be exotic beautiful flowers. They are popular for many romantic occasions. This is no accident. They are known as sexual deceptors. Orchid blooms mimic the shape and size and colors of local insects that they are trying to lure. They also emit female reproductive pheromones that draw the males to the plant. Pollination continues.

Atropa Belladonna is also known as Deadly Nightshade. It is native to Europe, Western Asia, and North America. It has a delicate purply-blue flower. All parts of the plant are poisonous. It has been used throughout history as medicine, poison, and a hallucinogen. They use it to make cosmetics.

A lovely flower with white petals that are embellished with purple spots is a native to Japan. The Toad Lily is one of the prettiest flowers I have seen. The flowers are usually about two and a half centimeters wide.

Strurt's Desert Pea has blood-red blooms with a bulbous black center. Central and Northwestern Australia is where they are found.

Tropical zones of Asia and Africa are where you can see Flame Lilies. They have breathtakingly beautiful blossoms of red or yellow or a combination of the two. They do actually look like flames.

Some call it the Clock Flower because it has dark "hands " in the center that look like the hands of a clock. The Passion Flower has about 500 different species. The passion in the name does not refer to love. Instead it refers to the Passion of Christ. These flowers are now found everywhere in the world except Antarctica.

The flowers of the Jade Vine are claw shaped flowers that hang from the vine in clusters. They are found in tropical rainforests of the Philippines. The color ranges from mint green to blue green. It is considered to be an endangered species.

The world is full of flowers of all kinds. I have mentioned a small few. The colors, shapes, and sizes vary. We have a myriad of uses for them, not all ornamental. Some are so fragrant that humans try to copy the odor for perfumes. Some smell so bad that we cannot wait to be away from them.

But spring is here and I am ready for flowers. I would like to hear from you about your favorite flowers or unusual flowers that you have seen.