Smile of Earth- 27

Hibiscus flowers

The genus Hibiscus is a popular ornamental plant of the tropics. With showy flowers in myriad colours these are ubiquitous shrubby plants. The common species is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. In tropical climate the species requires least care compared to other ornamental plants.
Though the flowers are not scented their colour attracts nature lovers and others alike.
I read that Hibiscus is generally considered quite a feminine flower and in certain cultures these flowers are usually given to or worn by women.
In Victorian times, hibiscus bloom was gifted to acknowledge the receiver’s delicate beauty by the giver.
The colour of the flower is also considered to indicate certain emotions- like, yellow hibiscus is often associated with happiness and good luck. Red hibiscus is a symbol of love and passion. Pink hibiscus stands for friendship and love of friends.
Hibiscus tea from dried petals or flowers and their extracts in raw state were traditionally thought to help everything from heart disease to the common cold to luxurious hair growth!

Smile of Earth- 26

Water Lilies

Water lilies are freshwater flowering plants. They grow very well in tropical climate and in temperate regions too.
These herbaceous plants are rooted in the muddy bottom of freshwater bodies with floating leaves. Flowers emerge above the water surface. The elegant and starry flowers can instantly enhance the beauty of home gardens!
When we think of water lily, probably we may think of the classic white or pink blooms bursting from a deep green lily pad. But they grow in many colours, including orange, yellow, purple, and blue.
This delicate flower has been associated with several symbolic meanings which include eternity, beauty, purity and divinity. A Native American legend surrounding water lily says that it was once a star that fell in the water from the sky, which then turned into a flower.
Water lilies belong to the family Nymphaeaceae and are closely related to Lotus.

Smile of Earth- 25

A Burst of Stamens!

Bottlebrush- Callistemon sp:

Flowers are generally beautiful due to the presence of colourful petals. People love flowers for their array of colours, textures, shapes and fragrance.
Now, imagine flowers without these showy petals or, with inconspicuous petals. Will we still adore them?
Yes…many flowers have variations in their essential whorls, like stamens, to compensate for the lack of colourful petals and they still look beautiful! In these flowers the stamens are usually very conspicuous, brightly coloured and numerous.
Here you can enjoy the beauty of a few such flowers with a burst of stamens.
These flowers belong to the family Myrtaceae, the family of Guava.

Nilgiri tree- Eucalyptus globulus
Guavasteen – Feijoa sellowiana
Rose apple- Syzygium jambos

Smile of Earth- 24

Roses

Roses have a long and colorful history. According to fossil evidence, they are 35 million years old! These lovely flowers are anytime favorites in gardens. There are more than 150 types of roses that grow as shrubby plants or climbers.
Some interesting facts about roses-
The impressive rose that grows on a wall on the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany is thought to be the oldest living rose and is 1,000 years old.
Rose water made from the petals is often added to jellies or jams, or is used as flavoring in Indian and Chinese dishes.
The lovely fragrance of roses is a popular floral scent that is used in women’s perfumes.
Various colours of roses are attributed with specific meanings. Besides red roses symbolizing love and romance, pink roses exude grace and elegance. The yellow rose represents friendship and cheer, and white roses signify sympathy.
President Ronald Reagan declared the rose as the national flower of the U.S.

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.