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

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Leaf of the Day: The Silver Necklace Pod Plant and Poppits.

I have been to Leu all of this beautiful cool morning. I met so many people today, 2 artists painting plein air, the gardeners Pedro, Rudi, and Susan and other unnamed but friendly visitors. Many things are beginning to change and maybe I am imagining it but there seems to be a slight autumnal feel to things, certainly last night was cooler. There is just a sense of some plants closing down and beginning to retire but others are just blossoming. I suppose it makes sense in the plant world to stagger your flowering times, so that not all of you are competing for the same pollinators at one given moment.
I found, as I always do, some new things, including an unexpected birch tree and this delightful necklace pod plant Sophora tomentosa which is a member of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), the peas and beans family. Its flowering season is nearly over I think but still the pretty dark pods hang in decorative chains amongst the soft pretty pale green leaves. They are the sort of leaves you just have to brush over your cheek. They are like the softest velvet. This lovely photo from Florida nursery Plant Creations here shows very well the flower and the silvery leaves.

This photo from yesterday shows how the pods turn from yellowy green to dark brown. There are different varieties and this one at Leu does not have such sage green coloured leaves. These were definitely pale yellow green. I like the contrast of the dark brown necklaces against the pale leaves.

The pods contain small hard shiny brown seeds and the "necklaces" remind me so much of Poppits! Does anyone remember them, those colourful plastic beads which clipped together. Popping and unpopping meant hours of endless aimless fun, the child's version of worry beads I think. I loved them and seem to remember chewing them too and I even remember the smell of them. I can't believe any survived in an unscratched, unchewed state but I found a website which actually sells them ..the very dangerous and wonderful vintage jewellery and collectibles site, "Eclectica" here
So for bit of gaudy 1960's, plastic nostalgia....

Poppits, the real thing, resplendent in thermoset, all-the-way-through, colour. You can almost see the little mould seam on the beads that I also remember.. ahh nostalgia..
Aren't they just fab..? I really wish I had not found this site ...

I had to draw the leaf very quickly as they are delicate and wilt fast. One very attractive feature but only if you look closely (and in colour) is that the petioles, the tiny leaf stalks coming from the main stem are yellow, very delicate and pretty. You would not really notice that just by looking at the plant.

Necklace Plant Leaf and Pods


Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I visit your blog almost daily and felt I needed to leave a comment instead of just lurking. I really enjoy your photos and drawings.

sjp8987 said...


I found your blog while searching for a source of Sophora tomentosa seeds. Do you have access to these for a SASE? I can send you a stamped envelope.

Thanks for your time! I do like your blog

Anonymous said...

This is a very enjoyable blog, interesting, informative and wonderful art! Thank you!

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks all.. this is a very late comment follow up, but its nice to know you are enjoying the blog.

goatsfoot said...

I've used the seeds in necklaces :) Lovely hard round shiny brown ones, I nestle them in with bright red ones! I had no idea they grew 'overseas' - I thought they were just native to northern Queensland where they're not very common. But upon reflection, they are a beach tree, and the seeds float, so it makes sense that they have a wide tropical distribution.