Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Weird and the Wonderful

This post is for all the weirdly wonderful ... and the wonderfully different. The ones who choose to walk a different path, a more unusual, interesting path which no one thought of before.
The ones who think different and ask all the "why not?" questions that make the Custodians of the Ordinary turn purple with frustration. Especially when they find their Madness is actually Genius.
The ones who make Life so much more interesting just by being themselves!  

The Canonball tree is in bloom in Mumbai now with its quirky, weirdly wonderful flowers. So very different from just about everything else we see here. Have you ever seen a flower like this? I'm so intrigued by the candy-hued wriggly-looking staminoides on the hooded extension. And the ring of whitish stamens are equally fascinating. One set of fertile stamens and another set of sterile staminoides on the 'hood' , both working together . One attracts the pollinators (usually the carpenter bee), the other deposits the pollen on them to be carried away to the next bloom and carry on with its work of ... well, pollinating, of course. But what an ingeniously effective and, yes, different way of doing it!

For a more detailed explanation, see here . And weird becomes doubly wonderful when it is disguised as commonplace ... as in the common everyday Pineapple. Or rather, the blooms of the pineapple!  
Have you ever seen it? And don't you just love those colours?

And curiouser and curiouser, the fruits of each individual flower merge together to create one single fruit.  Now who would've thought of that? Not me. And I've been growing pineapples for years! I never even noticed their blooms till now. Quite possibly because they're growing in a far corner of my garden and the April sun is too fierce for me to wish to linger out for long.
Now I wonder what else I might've missed...

Definitely not the Passionflower! No one could ever miss the rather bizarre beauty of this bloom. It looks like a layer of petals topped by a twirly tutu topped by a faucet designed by an artist on hallucinogens. 
Seriously! 
And yet, seen together, it all works ... beautifully. Like a true masterpiece.
And even better, it smells divine!
What??? You don't think the banana flower (or what should actually be called the 'banana inflorescence' ) deserves to be here? Come on... look again.  Doesn't it  it look like some alien creature in flight?
Layers upon layers of thick fleshy liver-red bracts tightly sheathing the actual flowers into a compact cone hanging like a pendant. Till they unfurl one by one, revealing their 'hands', so to speak.  
And that's not even taking into consideration that the whole banana plant is as different as you can get. That thick 'trunk' is just layer upon layer (yet again, I know!) of leaf stalks. And that each new leaf has to start its journey from the bottom up. As does the 'flower'.
 
And if you looked at your garden and saw a whole bevy of Dancing Girls? Anything non-weird about that?
Not about the dancing girls (we've got to be a bit blasé about such things in this day and age, right?). But the fact that they're dancing at the tip of the Oncidium orchid plants?
Hmmm... definitely worth comment!
And such beautiful dancing girls... oh yes!

And the 'weirdities' don't stop with the plants in my garden. Oh no! The creatures ... my beautifully diversely wonderfully weird garden creatures are never far behind. As you'll see in the posts in my Garden Creature Fest (pssst! look in the side-bar).
As for this Jewel Bug ... it's just plain beautiful! Even if it's differently so.

(Actually it's not laziness which is holding me back from posting more photos on this theme ... my blog has just switched over to the new interface at Blogger and I'm wrestling with it  and tying myself up in knots at the moment! Aaaargh!!! )

31 comments:

  1. Lovely! Loved the post too.:-)

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  2. What a great post! Full of beautiful blooms and a cool looking critter.

    FlowerLady

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  3. Thank you, Shri. So glad you liked it :)

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  4. It was a fun post, Flower Lady! Except I got caught in the middle of Blogger switching my blog around so I had to miss out on posting more.
    Yeah, I think that Jewel Bug is really cool too :)

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  5. Once again, such beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Hi Sunita
    I hadn't gotten over the pineapple bloom in a previous post and then you go and thwack your readers on the head with these !
    The stupendous Cannon Ball,the Passion Flower and the beautiful irridescent colours of the beetle...superb is the word that comes to mind.
    Banana blossoms contain a delicately sweet nectar that must be savoured early in the morning.

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  7. Such beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. My goodness Sunita girl !
    I have never stopped to think of the pineapple or banana plant's flower and wow ! they are amazing .. I have been eating fresh pineaplle the last few weeks .. craving it!
    Of course the Passionflower always amazes me .. and orchids of all kinds are mysterious .. and all of these are totally beautiful !
    Joy

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  9. Wow! Such freaky beauty. That cannonball tree flower looks like some undersea creature. Thanks for the show!

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  10. So interesting! I really enjoy seeing so many new things. :)

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  11. beautiful photos - thanks for sharing. I love that cannonball flower - never seen anything like it. Isn't nature marvelous?

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  12. hahaha, i love this post, and they are most awesome the way you described them. They are just ordinary to me, now they are made more unusual and intriguing. I've only seen the cannonball tree and flowers only once in Cambodia, but didn't see the close-up of the flowers. To me how the flowers arise from those many branches on the main trunk made it the weirdest, also because its my first time to see such a tree. You should have shown it here too. And i appreciate your calling the plant parts in their correct terms, haha, e.g. banana plants, leaf sheaths, etc. Pineapple is called a multiple fruit because of what you described.

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  13. Beautiful post with an off beat theme Sunita! Love your narration :) Esp loved this line.. 'The ones who make Life so much more interesting just by being themselves!'
    And pics.. just awesome :)

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  14. We do aim to please, Usha! :D
    I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post so I'm so pleased you liked it too. Look out for a sequel ... I've got way too many more pics and much more to talk about the oddballs of Nature. I just couldn't deal with wrestling with a new Blogger interface at the same time.
    Yes, I know about the banana flower's nectar. And so does every nectar-hunting bird and other creature in the vicinity :)

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  16. Its so good to see you here again, Joy! And yes, all those common ordinary plants really know how to spring a surprise, dont they? :D

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  17. I had real fun putting this post together, Shady C! I just knew you'd like it too.
    The Cannonball flower kept looking so different from each angle, I had a tough time narrowing the choice down to these 3 pics.

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  18. Absolutely, Africanaussie! Sometimes I wonder whether the Creator was feeling a bit bored at times and decided to create all the way out oddities to get over it :D

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  19. Thanks, Andrea :D
    You're right, I should've got a better photo of the flowers on the tree but this one which I clicked wa a beginner I think so it had not developed those long ropes yet.

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  20. Bring them on Sunita !
    I have to agree with Shady Character...the cannon ball flower immediately reminds one of a deepsea anemone ( that somehow lost it's way and found a home in an earth flower )

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  21. Beautiful images and I find your beetle wickedly beautiful

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  22. Hi Sunita, so enjoyed your post, the images are strokes of genius and elegance from the Creator for the discerning pleasure seekers, your photos are exhilarating, the quirkier the more imaginative and interesting. a high five to you girl. thank you

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  23. I stumbled upon your blog while searching for some birds that my colleague had seen around her place.

    That's quite a garden you have :))

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  24. LOL! I love the comments I get to read here.
    I so totally agree with you, Usha (and you too Shady C!). Maybe our Canonball tree had past life regressions, remembering a time when all life was underwater! Hey, anything is possible, right?

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  25. Oh that he/she is, Stiletto! And this pic just doesn't do it justice. It was much more stunning really, believe me!

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  26. Thank you, Ayesha! You say the nicest things :)
    I cant begin to comprehend the creativity that has gone into designing each and every living thing on this beautiful planet of ours ... truly staggering!

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  27. Hey thanks Aristarkhos:)
    So did you find the bird you were looking for? Try looking in the posts under Garden Creature Fest in the sidebar.

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