Sunday, January 31, 2010

Unfinished business: Euphorbia drupifera flowers

Last Tuesday, when I was watering, I noticed that the Euphorbia drupifera flowers were being interesting: they've sprouted little god-knows-whats out of their centers. Maybe anthers (they all look like they're tipped with little yellow dots of pollen, anyway). I really don't understand how Euphorbia flowers are constructed. I'm pretty sure the flowers have done this in years past, too, but for whatever reason, I didn't bother to get a close-up of the phenomenon. So now I have.

The actual point of this post, though, besides getting to show you the cool, super close-up picture above (and it blows up much bigger if opened in a separate window, just so you know), is to note that the flowers have a scent. It's really faint, so faint that I can't get a good handle on what it actually smells like: at various moments, my brain interpreted it as bleach, "hospital," oregano, sour-citrus, "chemical," "spice," and "clean." It was most insistent about "hospital" and oregano. I don't even know what "hospital" smells like, exactly.

The husband's less-talky nose said floral, shading into a sort of citrus. So we at least kind of overlap on citrus.

I know this is not much of a description. Or, maybe, I know this is too many descriptions. I would have liked to be able to be more precise about it, but the smell is right on the verge of not existing at all, so. I'll revise this post if I'm inspired with a perfect description at some point.


Ginny Burton said...

Have you tried sniffing it at different times of the day? It may put out its strongest scent late at night.

mr_subjunctive said...

I have. The scent has seemed about the same regardless of when I've tried.

Peter said...

The little sticky things with the pollen in the Euphorbaceae family are called titwilliers. They are attractive to allodapine bees from Zanzibar.

Edith Hope said...

Dear Mr. Subjunctive, I was absolutely fascinated with your posting as I know nothing at all about this particular Euphorbia.

I do, though, think that the genus makes for very good garden plants, even if the sap on my skin leaves me with a terrible rash.