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

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Leaf of the Day: Passion Flower

Today I have been continuing the finished leaf paintings, so little time for the blog or much else really. This is number 5 leaf, a little bilobed passionflower leaf.
It is another beautifully shaped leaf and of course the passionflowers are the most extraordinary pieces of plant architecture. For now though, just the leaf.
This particular leaf has little yellow spots running along the blade, which after some research I discovered are called 'extra floral nectaries'.
Their function seems to be to attract useful insects who in return for a drink of sweet nectar prey on any plant-eating pests, thus functioning as 'bodyguards' in another mutually beneficial insect/plant arrangement.
Many species of ants are found in association with plants having extra floral nectaries and interestingly, it seems that vines in particular have developed these refreshment stations, their evolution and selection occurring as a result of ants using the vines frequently as natural pathways into the forest canopy.

I am not sure what particular species this leaf is from, as I only have a small piece without flowers, but there are many many different types of passion flowers growing in Florida. One I have yet to see is the batleaf passionflower ,



or the "Maypop" which is quite a common roadside weed, in the South East USA where it sprawls over ditches and open fields. I have found two explanations for its name. One that it 'pops' out of the ground in May and another that the pods, which are edible, make a loud popping noise when you stand on them.




These and more photos from from Daves Garden

I will return to these beautiful plants when I get round to painting the flowers.
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Passionflower Leaf


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