Cold. When it comes to cold, I'm really a "wimp."
I wonder if it will ever be warm again — this cold has lasted for weeks. But the winter solstice has come and gone, so I know that spring will return. Can I last that long? I have no choice but to return to my memory file to find a warm day and a beautiful flower.
Allen and I were driving along Land's End Road. We had just passed through an open park-like area and were entering the somber spruce-fir forest. We saw a small area of deep green growth and realized that there must be water. Of course we stopped to investigate. Deep green leaves and bright white flowers!
They were marsh marigolds . . . robust, ground-hugging plants. The foot-long leaf stalks supported heart-shaped, glossy leaves up to eight inches long and a couple of inches across. Inch-wide white blossoms came singly atop long flower stalks and at the center of each blossom was a dense mass of bright stamens laden with yellow pollen.
Often flower parts come in four segments: the green outer sepals, the colorful petals, the pollen-bearing stamens, and pistil with the ovary which will mature into half-inch seed pods. I knelt down for a closer look and found that there were only three segments: many pistils nestled among the many stamens but no green sepals — only petals that were white on the top side and darker bluish on the underside. In the past, I'd seen this plant with closed buds that were blue, but the broad leaves indicated that the plants were marsh marigold. Then, as the flower opened, the white upper side color is what we would see. Since botanists try to be consistent, such a situation, with only three segments, is defined as "tepals."
Marsh marigold always seemed a poor name to me: They grow in wet places (like a marsh) but they sure don't look like "marigolds." Apparently many pretty yellow flowers were labeled marigold ("mari" in honor of the Virgin Mary). The yellow eastern specie was observed first and then the common name applied to its western counterpart even though it had white blossoms.
There are about 15 species in colder regions in both hemispheres. This member of the Buttercup Family has many common names: Meadow bright, King-cup, Meadow Buttercup and Capers. Others are obviously related to grazers: Horse blobs, Cow slip and Elk slip.
I remember the warmth of the sun on my back and the clear air. A lovely memory to warm me on this cold wintry day.blog comments powered by Disqus