Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Georgia O'Keefe moment

OK, that's a bit pretentious on my part. But the fact is that my datura has blossomed five times in the past month and I managed to follow the action on one evening. Come watch one of these rather spectacular flowers unfold.

In the beginning, the action takes place over about a week to 10 days, with buds emerging and growing bigger -- here about 5 inches long...

...at which point the sepals begin to open. Call this Day 1.

The next day, Day 2, the blossom is beginning to emerge.

On the third day, the tightly wound flower-to-be is almost ready to open. When you spot it at this stage, the blossom will open the same evening -- starting at dusk, about 7 to 7:15 p.m. In the process, the plant will periodically emit puffs of a lovely fragrance. And, yes, the light is beginning to wane, as you can see in the next pictures.

The pinwheel begins to unwind.

The trumpet is about to begin opening.

Partially open.

The trumpet is beginning to take shape, but the light is fading. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get a good picture with flash working so close to the blossom, though PhotoShop did come to the rescue for the two images below.

Shortly after 7:30 p.m., the datura was about as open as it was going to be. My neighbor held a flashlight for this exposure, and then I quit for the night. Mosquitoes.

Apparently, at least one hawk moth or other night pollinator made an appearance, as the blossom was quite spent the following morning. But notice that if another critter were to show up, there's still an opportunity f0r more seeds to be fertilized. Not one of the five flowers lasted into the next day, a big disappointment...

...which will nevertheless result in a good supply of seeds. Above, a pod beginning to develop.

And, miracle of miracles, I discovered this new seedling yesterday. Perhaps my luck with the deadly datura has changed.

17 comments:

dagnygromer said...

Interesting sequence of images.

worldphotos4 said...

This may be pushing it a little, but it's almost like watching someone giving birth. Great series.

TomboCheck said...

Very cool series!! Almost like that Planet Earth show!

OmegaMom said...

Very cool, Mamasan! And, my, were you ever patient!

Granny J said...

dagny -- I've wanted to do this sequence for a long time. My first chance was the night before I was to leave for Alaska -- and I was in too much of a panic that night.

steve -- not as bad as me pushing the O'Keefe connection.

tombo -- back in the aught-50s, there was John Ott with stop motion film studies of flowers as they opened. And, of course, the Wallace & Gromit flicks are also created with stop motion techniques...

dotter -- that plus a lot of exposures that I had to just dump!

RV-boondocker-explorer said...

There really was a birth-like drama to this sequence of photos, like worldphotos4 said.

The Artful RV Adventurer said...

flashlight effect was great, nice strong contrast and shape edge. mark

The Artful RV Adventurer said...

I meant sharp edge... when will i learn to use preview.
mark, again.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, Granny J!

Thanks for taking the time and sharing the blossoms with us.

A treasure!

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

steve -- actually it is a form of giving birth, now that I think of it a bit.

mark -- the late dusk photos were proving to be a problem. The flash washed out the white flower, tho you do get nice sharp edges with flash. But I had tried a flashlight for the previous night's flower & it seemed to work pretty well, so I went with it again.

anon av -- this set of pix is one I've been wanting to do for several years, so I'm reasonably pleased, tho some of the pictures could have been lit better.

Granny J said...

boonie -- well, we are going from the flower through fertilization and, hopefully,the production of seeds. The latter takes just a bit of time, BTW.

Warren said...

really nice sequences of photos! I especially liked the picture of the flower illuminated from the side by flashlight.

Granny J said...

warren -- it was an experiment tried out of desperation, as I had a bad experience with lighting by flash -- and it was rather dark by the time the flower was open.

Lucy said...

Yes, I think that qualifies as a Georgia O'Keefe moment...

Granny J said...

lucy -- I think she was more inclined to the "aha" moment than the process of getting there...

kimmus122 said...

It may not be Georgia O'Keefe, but it's great in its own right. I loved the sequence as well...a great idea and well captured!

Granny J said...

kimmus -- O'd like to do the same thing for the morning glory, which opens at some hour between my bedtime and dawn. The challenge is getting me out of the oh-so-comfy sack in the middle of the night to check the scene out.

 
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