Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wild Ginger

wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
Nature's Garden, a book printed in 1915 written by Neltje Blanchan, asks these questions about wild ginger (Asarum canadense):
Like the wicked servant who buried the one talent entrusted to his care, the wild ginger hides its solitary flower if not actually under the dry leaves that clothe the ground in the still leafless woodlands, then not far above them. Why? When most plants flaunt their showy blossoms aloft, where they may be seen by all, why should this one bear only one dull, firm cup, inconspicuous in color as in situation?
So as poetic as it all sounds, the reason is to attract the gnats and small flies that come crawling out of the warming soil looking for something to eat. The color and location of the flower are similar to the food they are seeking: dead meat. The gnats and flies pollinate the flower and a leather capsule develops which eventually bursts and discharges many seeds.

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