Category Archives: Plants

Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.

The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Close ups and Macros.’ See more responses here. Here’s a selection of some little creatures up close and personal.

Fiery skipper butterfly on aptenias

A Fiery skipper butterfly feeds on an aptenia haeckeliana flower
A Fiery skipper butterfly feeds on an aptenia cordifolia flower

I often see fiery skipper butterflies on what I know as ice plants. I thought the different color flowers were just variations within the plant but, while they’re members of the same family (Aizoaceae), they’re different plants. At the top is an Aptenia haeckeliana with its yellow flower. To the left is an Aptenia cordifolia with a magenta flower.

It’s a different butterfly on the two flowers, but both are fiery skippers.

Alexandrian laurel

The flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii
The fruits and flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii

Alexandrian laurel (Calophyllum inophyllum) is known as Kamani in Hawaii. It’s a canoe plant, which means it was brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian voyagers. They would have carried this evergreen tree because of its importance for building their ocean-going outriggers.

The small white and yellow flowers usually bloom twice a year and are followed by round fruits with a single large seed.

Tangerine flowers

A tangerine flower

A while back I posted a photo (here) of one of the heavily-laden tangerine trees in the yard. I noted that in my eight years living here I’d never seen a flower on the tree despite its prolific production of fruit.

However, last week, when I was up on a ladder harvesting the last of the current crop of fruit, I finally saw the flowers in the top photo. Then, when I’d knocked the last of the fruit down, I saw (bottom photo) one tangerine had a bit of branch still attached which bore, not only a flower, but also a leaf bearing a cluster of butterfly eggs.

I still don’t know how I’ve missed seeing these flowers before. They’re small, but not minuscule, and they have a lovely scent. While I wouldn’t expect to see flowers on higher branches, the lowest branches are at eye level and below. And I still haven’t seen bees and butterflies around the trees, though the eggs clearly show they do visit.

A tangerine flower and butterfly eggs