Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Streptocarpus spp.

Inside Grandma's house a flower sits by the eastern window
Patiently it waits to feel the morning sun
But the sun has to traverse the canopy of the giant redwoods...
The time will come when the two meet again.
And yet it is not without difficulty for the Eureka fog often clouds the way. 
It stretches out its leaves to embrace the warmth of the magnificent brilliance of the morning.
The flowers blush as the sun's rays touch their petals.
Translucently delicate flowers float above the dark green scalloped leaves.
Grandma says - it has a name that sounds like a disease but the streptocarpus blooms all year.
With such gorgeous flowers it will surely brighten a gloomy day.
~ ~ ~

 There is something about that name.  One of the plants that caught my attention during our recent trip to Eureka was the Streptocarpus.   Although the name sounds like a strain of bacteria that infects the throat, this plant is safe to touch.  The name Streptocarpus comes from two Greek words (streptos which means twisted; carpus which means fruit) which refers to the twisted seed pod of the plant.   The twisting happens during the development of the pod as in the spiraling of tendrils.  Differential cell growth and interplay of plant hormones are responsible for this type of development in plants for a reason.  It appears that the twisting of the Streptocarpus pod releases the seeds as a natural mechanism for dispersal.   It's amazing to know that the God of the universe made sure that even this tiny plant was given a blueprint for a perfect life. 

Trivia question:  What bacteria family looks like a twisted string of beads when viewed under a microscope?   (Clue: Greek word kokkos means spheres or berries)


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Well, I must admit, Streptocarpus is much prettier than Streptococcus :P

p3chandan said...

Nice poem for a beautiful flower, regardless of the name!

Helen Lewis said...

Curbstone Valley -- You make me laugh and I agree with you! I'd rather have something that I can show off than a reason to go in isolation. :)

Helen Lewis said...

p3chandan-- I thought I'd try to match the poetic look of the flower.:) Thanks for your comment.

Diana Studer said...

Have you visited Ellada, who blogs in Greek French and English?

Helen Lewis said...

Elephant's Eye-- I think so. Why do you ask?

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