Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Deadly symmetry

Unless you have suffered with me in my futile attempts to grow my very own jimson weed/sacred datura, you could not know just how pleased I am with this healthy plant growing next the house. One year ago about this time, it was a seedling in a little 4" pot, bought at Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed. I don't know how many times I have planted seeds that I collected from different wild datura growing in the neighborhood. To no avail. Not even a hint of a new plant poking up through the soil. Imagine, then, how let down I was when this particular datura did not put out leaves as soon as the last chill was gone this spring. Oh, no, it waited. And it waited. And it waited, until sometime after the beginning of May, to show its green. Now it's a plant to be proud of. Not only that, but I've discovered an new aspect: examine the plant carefully, particularly the arrangement of the leaves. The dang specimen is bilaterally symmetrical, leaf for leaf, position for position. I first discovered this looking at the new sprouts at the center. Maybe that's why shamans and sorcerers, from Greece and the Orient all the way to the American southwest, used the datura. Not just those powerful alkaloids, but possibly the magical layout of the leaves.

By the way, don't go trying those powerful alkaloids without a shaman or sorcerer to hold your hand and guide you -- they can be nasty, even deadly. It's even a good idea for ordinary people to wash their hands right after handling any part of the plant! But those Georgia O'Keefe blossoms at dusk -- they are worth it!

Statuary: I've met a new (to me) Prescott blogger with a mission; Observations hopes to photograph a sculpture or other outdoor art object every day of the year. That's 365 works in the Prescott area. Wonder if there are that many, with or without counting the chain saw bears.

12 comments:

k said...

Boy. This sure makes me count my blessings. All sorts of daturas and their ilk grow like weeds around here.

The only thing that seems to trouble them is if you move them, disrupting their huge powerful roots. Then they pitch a hissy-fit and go all fainty on you, at least until you provide them with liberal amounts of water. They often do a leaf drop on me because they react so fast, their current leaves are dead in one day.

But then they grown new ones right away, so I don't much care.

Geez. I'm brutal on plants...

k said...

And that leaf symmetry is just gorgeous! I never noticed it before.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on this new horticultural adventure! I'm sure we all (your visitors) are looking forward to your post on the blossoms!

~Anon in AV.

worldphotos4 said...

I love plants. Don't know squat about them, but do like to see them grow.

Granny J said...

k -- hey -- you've emerged from your coccoon! I tried uprooting a datura one time, but was defeated by the root, which hung on quite nicely to the underground boulders. Almost as bad as a desert 4 o'clock. You couldn't be any more brutal to plants than my Mom -- she expected plants to Obey! When they didn't, off with their sprouts. She wielded a mean clipper. Don't know if the leaf symmetry is always or just a freak.

anon av -- I will try to have the camera on the sports setting so I can catch that moment when the wound up petals go SPRONG!

steve -- Just enjoy the flowers & keep us up to date on your squirrels.

smilnsigh said...

Good for you! Great when perseverance pays off!

Mari-Nanci
Photos-City-Mine blog

meggie said...

I always feel happy when something I plant survives. Overjoyed should it flower too!

RV-boondocker-explorer said...

Alkaloids, you say. Wasn't that what killed the hero in "Into the Wild." Oops, I gave away the ending.

GrannyJ said...

meggie -- the real cause for celebration is when I have scattered a baggie full of collected seeds and a handful of Real Plants come up & maybe one of them flowers. Exception: my outlaw vines, morning glory, which are splendidly dependable.

boonie -- that's what they said at Wikipedia. As for me, all you have to say is alkaloid and my danger! flag goes up.

Anonymous said...

LOL!

It's evening, and I just saw your comment re: "Observations" blog... about the chain saw bears.

U R 2 funny, Granny J!

But, I do enjoy the iron sculptures out on Iron Springs Rd.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

anon av -- I am very fond of chain saw art -- I consider it to be among the folk arts of the machine age. As for the iron zoo out Iron Springs, it's absolutely terrific in my books.

Anonymous said...

good for upset stomach tho...

 
Photo Blog Blog Top Sites Blog Directory for Prescott, AZ

Local Blogs - Blog Top Sites