Smile of Earth- 23

Morning Glory

Ipomoea purpurea– Purple morning glory

Morning glory is the common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. To make it clear, these twining herbaceous plants belong to the family of Sweet potato.
With slender stems and simple leaves their trumpet-shaped flowers come in colours of pink, purple, blue, magenta, white and streaks of colours. Morning glory flowers start to bloom in the early morning hours and wilt mostly by noon or early afternoon.
Because of their fast growth, attractive flowers and tolerance to soil conditions, morning glories make excellent hedge plants covering fences and walls.
Seeds of morning glory are used as laxative in traditional Chinese medicine. Seeds of some species of morning glory contain toxic compounds that can induce hallucination, when consumed in large quantities. Leaves, flowers and roots are also found to have many health advantages.
In the Language of flowers, morning glory signifies unrequited love and affection.

Ipomoea pes-caprae– Beach morning glory
Ipomoea violacea– Heavenly blue
Ipomoea batatas– Sweet potato

Smile of Earth- 22

Pink Flowers

Gerbera

When we see a flower, what is the first thing we notice? Its size… its shape… its fragrance, or perhaps… its colour!
A flower’s colour is one of the many factors that makes nature so beautiful. Here are the pictures of a few pink flowers that I captured at various times.
Various folk cultures and traditions had given symbolic meanings to flowers and their colours. According to flower symbolism pink flowers combine innocence, playfulness and sensitivity. For some, pink flowers are the most romantic colour. Pink flowers have been traditionally associated with femininity and hence represent grace and gentility.

Geranium
Weeping cherry
Amaryllis Lily

Smile of Earth- 21

Cosmos flowers

Cosmos plants are cousins of daisy and marigold, and belong to the huge Asteraceae family.
These attractive flowers bring an explosion of colours to the garden landscape with white, red, yellow, orange, pink and various shades of these colours. Cosmos are annual flowers that are borne by long slender stalks.
Blooming throughout the summer, they attract birds, bees and butterflies to the garden. Cosmos are easily grown from seeds and even survive in poor soil conditions.
Though these are mainly grown as ornamental plants, traditionally they were used in indigenous medicines and certain culinary preparations. Cosmos flowers also yield dyes.
Cosmos flowers are said to symbolize order and harmony, due to the flower’s harmonious petals. The flower is also viewed as symbolizing tranquility, peace, innocence and love
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Smile of Earth- 20

Flowers of Beans

Beans are among the most versatile and commonly eaten vegetables throughout the world. Many varieties are grown by farmers and people in their home gardens. Edible beans are nutrient-rich vegetables and they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, in addition to protein, fibre, a moderate amount of calories and other nutrients.

Cowpea-Vigna unguiculata

I have four varieties growing in my garden, as you can see in these pictures. Notice that the structure of the flowers is different from other flowers.
A bit of Botany here 🙂
The heart-shaped big petal is called the ‘standard petal’ and attracts pollinators such as bees. Next two petals are named ‘wing petals’ and the last pair that grows fused is called ‘keel petal’. All essential parts are enclosed within the keel petals.

Bean blossoms with the above configuration are said to be ‘papilionaceous’, meaning butterfly-like.

Flat beans- Phaseolus coccineus
Common bean- Phaseolus vulgaris
Indian broad beans- Lablab purpureus

Smile of Earth- 19

Exotic Flowers!

Glory Lily

Good to be here after a long gap…. I might have missed many of your posts.
Here I am bringing a little cheer for all 🙂 Each one of these flowers has an exquisite structure and are gorgeous. They are quite big and showy.

Glory lily (Gloriosa superba) with it’s flaming petals can never be missed, though it is generally not grown as a garden plant. The plant is poisonous and can cause fatalities, if consumed.
Night-blooming cereus is a member of the cactus family. As the name suggests, the flowers bloom at night and are gone by daybreak! The plant has flat ribbon-like stem and well adapted for tropical climate.
Scarlet passionflower (Passiflora coccinea) is an ornamental, woody climber and does not produce fruits like the commercially cultivated variety. At least, I haven’t seen fruits on this plant, growing in my garden.
Water lily prefers a freshwater habitat. There are more than fifty species of water lilies. According to Indian mythology, lotus is the better half of sun while water lily is of moon. Water lilies symbolize innocence, purity, pleasure, celebration, rebirth, wellness and peace.

Night-blooming Cereus
Scarlet Passionflower
Water lily

Smile of Earth- 18

Zinnia flowers

Zinnia is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the aster family (Asteraceae). There are 20 species and more than 100 cultivated varieties of Zinnia.
Zinnias are annual plants that can bring an explosion of colours in a garden. They come in eye-catching hues. Flowers are solitary. They can be singles with petals arranged in a single row or semi-doubles or doubles with layers of petals.
These plants require only basic requirements like well-drained soil and sunlight to grow.
Zinnia is named after Johann Gottfried Zinn, famous German botanist who described this plant. Zinnia symbolizes friendship in the language of flowers.
Did you know? Zinnia is one of the flowers grown in space. In January 2016, NASA released images of a Zinnia flower blooming aboard the International Space Station.

Smile of Earth- 17

Flowers of Solanaceae

Eggplant flower

Solanaceae, also known as the potato family or nightshade family, is one of the most utilized and important plant families. The members of the family are found throughout the world but are abundant in the tropical regions.
It includes some of the most important food plants. Solanaceae has many ornamental plants also. Here, I am presenting flowers of food crops or vegetables of the family.
The common vegetables of the family are potato (Solanum tuberosum), eggplant or brinjal (Solanum melongena), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and chili peppers (Capsicum species).

Potatoes are carbohydrate-rich food and are important in the diet of many people around the world. Tomato is prized for its red, fleshy, vitamin-rich fruits. Less commonly eaten is the eggplant and it’s large, purplish, edible fruits are used in Indian dishes. The numerous varieties of chili are used to give a hot, spicy flavor to many foods.
All photographs are from my garden.

Potato flower
Green chili flower
Tomato flowers

Smile of Earth- 16

Ornamental Purslane

Purslane is a summer plant with pretty, delicate flowers that show off with many colours. The plant is a succulent herb and mostly appears clustered. The stem is prostrate and trailing with flat, fleshy, spatulate leaves.
Ornamental purslane produces flowers all summer and in warmer climates even in winter.
Purslane blooms open around 10:00 in the morning and close for good at various times in the day, depending on the temperature conditions.
Portulaca umbraticola and Portulaca oleracea are two of the ornamental purslanes you see hanging in baskets and in flower beds, giving colour and bringing in cheer.
Purslane was grown in India originally and provided nutrition and reported health benefits. The common purslane is a ‘weed’ (purslane that is not ornamental) and is a leafy vegetable.
Some other common names of purslane include garden purslane, moss rose, little hogweed, and wild portulaca.

Smile of Earth- 15

Bougainvillea

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Bougainvillea is an ornamental shrub that climbs up a support, if left unpruned. They produce showy bunches of ‘flowers’ that come in a variety of colours.
Flowering Bougainvillea plants are really a visual treat and adds colour to the place.

The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white. Flowers are seen in cluster of three and is surrounded by three or six bracts (modified leaves) with bright colours, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.

Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world. Many are hybrids  developed by genetic as well as  vegetative methods like budding.

Bougainvillea is the official flower of some states in USA like, California and Guam. It is also the national flower in Grenada. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) is also known as Paper flower.

Bougainvillea flowers are sources of natural dyes.

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Smile of Earth- 14

Some Exotic Flowers

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Aloe flowers

Anyone would love these exotic flowers!!

Aloe flowers vary in size, shape and color. They are held in a racemose inflorescence. The common species is Aloe vera and its flowers show  variations depending on the climatic conditions where it grows.

The Portuguese squill (Scilla peruviana) is a perennial that produces large striking blue conical-shaped inflorescence. The star-shaped flowers last for several weeks. These plants propagate from bulbs.

Ornamental garlic plants can be grown to get pretty blooms in globose inflorescence. Garlic flowers have a green stem that bear lime green, pink, or white spherical capsule of miniature flowers. No marks for guessing their smell!! 🙂

And now, the Crucifix orchids (Epidendrum radicans). These have thick leaves and long, thin stems with long lasting clusters of flowers. The common name refers to the modified petal that resembles a small cross.

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Portuguese squill

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Garlic flowers

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Crucifix orchid