Friday, 2 July 2010

Commonplace

Today, we take a break from the exotic to focus on the commonplace. Some flowers are so common and everyday to us, that we overlook them or ignore them completely. It's time the balance was redressed. So, to that end, we start with two plants which are so common, they are often trodden on, dug up and sprayed with weed killer. The first is the Daisy (Bellis perennis). I have always thought that a lawn is never complete without a few Daisies and if you take a look at their flowers close up, it becomes clear why they should be more appreciated.
What most people think of as the flower, is in fact, a collection of tiny flowers. The White 'petals' belong to individual flowers - called ray florets - and all of the tiny, yellow dots in the centre, are also individual flowers all coming together to make one larger inflorescence. With such simplicity and beauty, what more could you wish for?
The second of today's offerings is another common lawn 'weed'. This time it's the White Clover (Trifolium repens). Who would have thought that there could be such beauty in the commonplace?
A close look at the flower head of the Clover reveals, as with the daisy, a multitude of tiny, individual flowers forming the larger whole. Yet another member of the pea family, Whit Clovers are grown almost all over the Northern hemisphere as an important fodder crop as they are full of proteins. Humans too have eaten clover for a long time. The leaves have been used in salads and the roots can also be eaten - but usually cooked first. But, to look at the flower in detail, is to see a wonderful, beautiful, perfect little miracle of nature.
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