Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pretty pictures: Papaver orientale

Sort of a good news / bad news situation from the vet, though in this particular case the good and bad news are the same thing:

We had more or less ruled out fleas previously, on the grounds that I've lived with fleas before, long ago, in Texas, and I remembered that vividly enough that I figured it would be perfectly obvious. But we hadn't seen any fleas jumping around or on us. We hadn't seen any fleas on Sheba.1 I've been itchy a lot, but the flea bites I remember from Texas were big angry red things that lasted for days, and I haven't seen anything remotely like that, so I assumed that whatever the problem was, it couldn't have been fleas.2 We still don't know what's going on with me, but it kind of goes without saying that fleas seem much more plausible now.

This is bad insofar as it's not the most desirable problem to have, and now there's a lot of work to be done as far as vacuuming and washing, but on the other hand, it was easily diagnosed and should be relatively easy to solve. Sheba doesn't have some exotic form of dog leukemia, she's not allergic to mold in the walls that would cost us thousands of dollars to fix, and she's not been driven to emo self-harm because we're not walking her enough.3 Just fleas. Could have been worse. And should it happen again, we'll recognize it much earlier, and won't have to let it reach this point a second time.

Anyway. Since I sort of promised plants with the title, and since I've just made you think about fleas for a few minutes, here are some pictures of Papaver orientale:


1 Still haven't, actually - I went through her fur with a flea comb after we got back from the vet, and I couldn't find any fleas or eggs. I don't know if I was looking in the wrong place, if there were never that many to begin with, or if they're just really difficult to find, but I believe the vet because A) he had a flea to show us, and B) he's a vet so you gotta figure he'd know. Though I suppose he could have a whole big glass jar full of fleas sitting in a back room somewhere, that dips into when he feels like selling some medication. (Yes, but am I paranoid enough?)
2 In retrospect, it seems sort of obvious that Texas would have different kinds of fleas than Iowa, given the differences in climate and possible reservoir species. A flea that lives off lizards and armadillos in a region that rarely freezes would probably have different properties than a deer/squirrel/rabbit flea that has to survive winters of -10F / -23C.
3 (Though we are still going to try to walk her more.)


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Well, at least you know what the problem is, so you can deal with it. Glad to hear that it wasn't anything really serious! Hope that flea riddance is quick and easy, or as easy as it can be!

Anonymous said...

Was the papaver orientale growing for you? I've tried those countless times here in Texas. Grow really well from fall through spring, then the summer heat kills them, never to be seen again. There's the perpetual hope that if the right location could be found......96 anvbeiv

Texas Anon

mr_subjunctive said...

Texas Anon:

Not for me, but in the yard of someone here in the same town. I've seen at least three people growing them here.

Anonymous said...

You'd think with all the imidacloprid you've been playing with, there wouldn't be a live flea in the house!

mr_subjunctive said...



That was actually my first thought when he told us: no, that's not possible, there are dozens of pounds of imidacloprid in our house, so it must be something else.

Geoff said...

Such a great blog. That looks like Atlas poppy, or some double form of corn poppy maybe. Oriental poppies have black blotches on the petals. And I've had a Leuchtenbergia for many years and rooted two broken-off tubercles. It's so sad. They rooted, kind of, but can't grow. Weird loners indeed.

mr_subjunctive said...


Some cvv. lack the black blotches (e.g. see the picture of 'Olympia' at Wikipedia). Also every picture of that comes up in Google shows green/yellow centers and pollen, instead of purple.

It's possible that the plants in the pictures are hybrids and not actually P. orientale, but because of the color of the center, and also because of the wide range of colors of P. orientale varieties, both with and without the black blotches, I'm thinking P. orientale is still the more likely species, if it's a species.

Geoff Lewis said...

Ok. Hey, I tried Google's image search function. The poppy image is apparently visually similar to, among other things, this chicken:
Some plant genera are more incestuous than others, but its probably not an intergeneric hybrid like X Papaverogallus. Just the mechanics would be problematic, before the genetic incompatibilities.

Geoff Lewis said...

Oops, I meant 'adventurous' not 'incestuous' to describe a a plant's capacity or inclination to hybridize.
Great blog Mr. Subjunctive, hallowed be thy name.