They ain’t lilies


Water lily bloom and bud

This is not really a water lily. It is an American Lotus, with a scientific name of Nelumbo lutea. However, since I am a card-carrying denizen of L.A. (lower Arkansas), I am yielding to the lexicon of the land and will refer to the poesy as a “lilly.” You will see more of it.

Water lily bloom with a bug

Click on the flower to see and read more at Corndancer dot Com

The home waters for this water lily are at one of the busiest intersections in this neck of the woods. I’m hoping this post gets a lot of local heads nodding, “Yep, ah’ve seen them flares,” but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. The jury is still out.

Regardless of notice or scorn, the flowers are interesting. I shot all of the pictures for this story in three days. During those three days I noticed an accelerated life cycle. I shot the picture above on day one, not knowing then that I was at a starting point.

Before we go too much further, may I suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com and see more pictures and how this story started. We’ll wait here.

Water lilies

This is the same bud and same flower as the top picture in different light and a slightly different angle, a little less than 24 hours later. That’s a lot of life cycle in a short period of time. Notice the stem of the former bloom in the fold of the leaf. Scroll up for comparison

Overnight, the big bloom dropped its leaves and the bud bloomed. The dots at the top of what’s left of the big flower are seeds which comprise the next generation. The next step is below. The yellow pistil (I’m recalling biology 101A here, so forgive me if I have er, ah . . . misnomer-ed), will turn green, enlarge and disgorge its cargo of seeds for the next generation. Perhaps this is not terribly strange since enlarging is common among soon-to-bear-young creatures. All the while, the pod, nee pistil, is facing the sun. That changes too.

Enlarged water lily seed pod

A few days ago, this was a yellow pistil. Is it now a s “seed pod?” Who knows? It still has a drop of water clinging from an overnight thunderstorm.

In the final stage, the pod is empty, dried, turned brown, and returned to the “full upright position.” Once this happens, interior decorators cast their eyes on the spent pods to include in their collections of dried sticks and leaves. If you’ve ever wondered what those weird looking things were, now you know. American Lotus skeletons.

Water lily seed pod

The final stage. It’s mission accomplished, the plant will finally wither and drop into the pond with its ancestors. That is, unless an enterprising supplier to the interior decoration business harvests it first.

According to what I can find out, most of the plant is edible, particularly the tubers in the plant’s root system. The same source says that the plants were originally confined to the southeastern lower 48 and that as Indians migrated north, they brought the plants with them as a source of food.

Grasshopper on water lily

It is said that migrating Indians brought the lilies from the southeastern lower 48 and a source of food. This grasshopper looks convinced.

October 15, 2012 – See how the pond has changed

Since I see the pond at least twice daily, most of the time more than that, I can observe subtle changes which in aggregate a month later are not subtle, but dramatic. The lilies are gone. All of the giant leaves, save a scant few, have withered and turned brown. Most have fallen into the pond.

The ubiquitous yellow flowers of a southeast Arkansas fall have replaced the lilies at the edges of the pond. This afternoon, the pond was like a mirror and the mid-October afternoon sun bathed the pond in irresistible light. I captured three images to show what most people miss when driving past the pond.

Pond at I-530 and Hazel

You can see how close I-530 is the pond. Not much more than “rock-throwing” distance. The diagonal in the middle of the picture is the access road from the 1-530 / Hazel Street exchange.

Traffic sign reflecting in pond

This is the pond and sign reflection from the fence down. The colors of fall are developing, emphasized by the golden light of a setting sun. A few remaining lily leaves are on their last legs in the background along the fence.

truck from interstate highway reflecting in a pond

Since still photography does not record sound, I’ll have to fill you in. Despite the serene appearance, the pond is inundated with interstate highway noise, which is the price we pay for convenient transportation modes. This 18-wheeler reflected in the pond as it sped by. Finally got it timed right after about 40 shots.

Yellow wild flowers

A sure sign that fall and cool, crisp mornings are not far away.

While one plant is biting the big one, others, harbingers of coming fall, are peaking out. Here in LA, the roadways burst with yellow flowers in the waning weeks of summer.

rainbow at the end of a road

A few seconds later, the rainstorm obliterated the rainbow. This is the only shot.

Last week, a good friend called to advise me of a huge rainbow on the east side of our fair city. I beat a path to what I figured would be the best place to shoot it. The accompanying storm was crashing headlong to the same location. I arrived a few seconds before the storm and squeezed off one barely acceptable shot before the storm obliterated the rainbow. I am grateful for that one shot.

And I am grateful you dropped by.

Thanks,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Buttercup attack


The old truck while seemingly under attack by yellow flowers is in good company. The picture is a study in contasts. Something on it's last legs is surrounded by new growth and renewal.

The old truck while seemingly under attack by yellow flowers, is in good company. The picture is a study in contrasts. Something on its last legs is surrounded by new growth and renewal. A reminder from Mother Nature.

The old Ford in Cornerville AR (Lincoln County),  appears to be under attack by a yellow horde of buttercups. In southeast Arkansas, such attacks are common this time of  year. The trip to find this old Ford started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to see the giant killer buttercup and a garden under buttercup attack.

This old chicken house near Rowell AR on US Highway 63 appears to be floating on a sea of buttercups. The area around Rowell seems to have more that its share of buttercups this year. It's hard to imagine having too many flowers nearby.

This old chicken house near Rowell AR on US Highway 63 appears to be floating on a sea of buttercups. The area around Rowell seems to have more that its share of buttercups this year. It's hard to imagine having too many flowers nearby.

A single buttercup plant, by itself, is a dinky little pipsqueak. It’s skinny and has an almost thread-like stalk. These plants are smart. You rarely not see just one. It’s more like one million, so to speak. Seeing two or three acres of buttercups in one wad is not unsual.

The building above is an old “broiler house” as it was originally called, now they are simply called what they are, “chicken house.” This chicken house, like many in the area is no longer in use and now serves as a storage building. The houses are used to grow out chicks to market size. You may have munched on a drumstick which originated here.

Okay, it's a rare occasion. One misplaced buttercup is surrounded by purple clover blooms.

Okay, it's a rare occasion. One misplaced buttercup is surrounded by purple clover blooms.

The buttercup above probably feels like a hamburger salesman at a vegetarian’s convention — or vice versa. The red clover surrounding the buttercup was planted by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. During this season, it is hard to drive anywhere and not see the purple blooms.

The buttercups, on the other hand, are on their own and doing well. It is said by many that plants have survival instincts. If that is so, the buttercups are well programmed.

From the looks of things, the sign was hit with at least one load of number six shot. Some good ol' boy probably did not get the squirrels he was after and decided to alter the sign. Boys will still be boys.

From the looks of things, the sign was hit with at least one load of number six shot. Some good ol' boy probably did not get the squirrels he was after and decided to vent his frustration on the sign. Boys will still be boys.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

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