"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Leaf of the Day: Holly and Toog and a Foaming Berry

I went down to Leu this morning, just to see if I could get any last minute inspiration for my remaining leaves. Also I wanted to see the new planting that has been happening over the weekend. Near the lake they have taken out some of the uncontrollable and rampant exotics and are planting native Florida species.
One of these is a Soapberry tree Sapindus marginatus which is a nice little tree whose seeds have the amazing property of foaming when mixed with water. The berries contain saponin which is a natural form of detergent, and if you wish to find out how to use them, this web page The Complete Soapnut Guide will tell you. In Mexico and tropical America they have been used as soap, and in addition, the chemicals in the berries ( saponins) were found to be "toxic to cold-blooded vertebrates, and crushed soapberry fruits were thrown into ponds and streams to stupefy the fish so that they would float to the surface to be gathered."
info from WaynesWord website here


The blue black marble like seeds are known as "black pearls" throughout the tropics, and are used for jewellery.
What a useful tree this is , I look forward to maybe a seed pod or two later in the year.

However, I had to finish two more leaves today. I do now have a new lamp which is very good and is a bright white light, so the lighting problem has eased. I have drawn these two leaves before. Chinese Holly here and the Toog tree leaf here. It was a challenge to get the shine on the holly leaf and I still felt I want to sharpen everything up a bit and get more contrast into the leaf but it will have to do for now.
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Chinese Holly and Toog







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