This is a prickly beauty…look at the pattern formed by the spines! Barrel cacti (Echinocactus) are cute, round specimens with different-coloured spines; this golden barrel cactus shows bright yellow spines. Cacti are succulents with woody or herbaceous stems that contain chlorophyll. The fleshy stems store water and perform photosynthesis to feed the plant. Unlike other succulents, cactus plants have cushion-like areoles on the surface of the stems, carrying stiff hairs or thorns. Most cacti have spines. Cactus spines are actually modified leaves that protect the cactus plants from munching by wildlife and also help to prevent water loss. Many of the cacti are grown as ornamental plants.
Caladiums are tropical plants with colourful patterns on their leaves. Caladium leaves have combinations of red, pink, green or white on them with coloured midribs and contrasting backgrounds. With lush multi-coloured leaves, many larger than the palm of our hand, Caladiums have become one of the most popular ornamental plants. Do you know that Caladiums grow wild in tropical forests? Due to white, magenta or red freckled patterns this species has the common name Caladium Freckles. Caladium freckles is the third variety of Caladium that I have presented in my posts. These plants grow in my garden. To see the other two species, pls check out these posts- Patterns…4, Patterns…6
True to its name, star fruit appears like a star in its cross section. Carambola or star fruits are produced by a medium sized tree, Averrhoa carambola. The tree flourishes in the tropical regions. The fruit has tart ‘n’ sweet taste and is used in many dishes. Though the fruits have many health benefits, they have mild toxic effects also due to the presence of neurotoxins. Star fruit is best eaten when it is fully ripe.
Look at these pictures. Any wild guess, what do these pictures show?! Here it is… these are macro pictures of the pattern on a Pomelo rind (skin)- it’s designer jacket! Pomelo is the giant Citrus fruit, and its scientific name is Citrus maxima, alias Citrus grandis. In my native place it is called Babloos naranga or Kambili naranga. The rind of the fruit also has several uses. It has essential oils. The dried and pleasant-smelling rind can act as insect repellent and natural deodorant in our shelves and cupboards.
Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia amoena) is a very popular house plant due to its easy-growing nature. Have a close look at the patterns on its leaves. Leaves are yellow near their midvein and turns to dark green toward the edge. This transition is random, even within the same leaf, creating patches and spots of yellow and green along the leaf blade. Sap of this plant is poisonous and can make people incapable of talking due to swelling of tongue and throat region. Hence the common name ‘dumb cane’. But the variegated leaves make it a good ornamental plant.
Leaves are the best and often the easiest way to identify a plant. We can see two types of leaves around us; that is, Simple and Compound leaves. No…no!! No botany lesson 😊 Just for info! When the leaf blade is all in one piece, though it may be lobed, toothed etc, it is a simple leaf. Look at these two leaves that are basically simple but highly lobed. These palmately lobed leaves have the lobes spreading radially from a point, like fingers on a hand. Nature is so beautiful, isn’t it? Beyond our words!!
I was mentioning about patterns in nature earlier. Patterns in nature are visible regularities of form found in the natural world. Have you ever thought about why nature likes to arrange itself in patterns? Nothing in nature happens without a reason. All these patterns have an important reason to exist. The pattern arrangements increase efficiency- efficient utilization space available and efficient functioning. They are beautiful to watch also! Check out examples of some of these patterns the next time you go for a walk and you may be able to spot a few. Could you make out the patterns given here?
Succulents are plants with adaptations to thrive in arid conditions. They have swollen and fleshy leaves. Most of the succulents show very interesting patterns in the arrangement of leaves or spines on their fleshy stem. Many times, leaves are arranged in a rosette pattern, giving the plant a floral appearance. Aeonium, the tree houseleeks, have leaves typically arranged in rosettes around central axis at the end of stems. Sempervivum, the houseleeks, are succulent perennials forming mats composed of tufted leaves in rosettes. With its pinkish-grey succulent leaves in rosette form, Mother-of-pearl-plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) is also called ‘Porcelain plant’. All the three plants belong to the family Crassulaceae.
Friends, you may be remembering my earlier post of the painted leaves of Caladium. If not, please check out HERE! This is another variety of the Caladium that grows in my garden. Caladiums can instantly add colour to home gardens. Their bright colours and unique patterns are simply fascinating and delightful. Some of the ornamental Caladiums generally have large heart-shaped leaves, sometimes growing to more than a foot long. These tropical plants are easy to grow in home gardens.
Ferns are shade-loving ornamental plants. Though they thrive in tropical forests, ferns have adapted to temperate weather as well.
As is visible, this fern frond is bearing fruit bodies or Sporangia on its ventral side. They produce spores.
The fern symbolizes eternal youth. To the Maori tribe of New Zealand, the fern represented new beginnings. To the Japanese, the fern symbolizes family and the hope for future generations. According to Victorians, the fern symbolized humility and sincerity.