Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rattlesnake Plantain (watercolour 4 x 6 in.) SOLD!

18 August finds me painting in the lab.  This morning I stayed to finish my watercolour of the red Grasshopper while everyone else went out for the last day of fieldwork for the two-week Bio-blitz. Karen, the student who researches bats, collected a Dwarf Rattlenake Plantain to paint, so I'm starting right in on it.  She brought three - one plant of the full-sized species, with unpatterned rich green leaves and a tall flower stalk, and two plants of the dwarf species - one in dry twiggy litter and this one in my favorite moss of damp places, Mnium.  They were all found in a Cedar forest near Doyle's Meadow.

The single plant of the large species has fresh white flowers, but its stem is too tall to fit into the kind of close-up, whole-plant portrait I would like to paint.  Both plants of the dwarf species are "past flowering", but little brown scraps of what were delicate white orchid flowers still cling to the tips of the developing seed capsules.  I chose the plant growing among the translucent leaves of Mnium.

Wikipedia says that Goodyera repens is "a green underground creeper that sends out occasional skinny stems above the surface.  It is found in isolated spots in the forests and bogs of Europe but is the most common orchid of Scandinavia.  It is also found in Canada and the US, and is a protected species throughout most of its range.  It does not survive fire, and does not soon reenter an area after fire or logging.  It is generally found only in forests at least 95 years old.  Like other orchids, it lives in symbiosis with a mycrorrhiza, a special rhizome-dwelling fungus (Ceratobasidium cornigerum or Rhizoctonia goodyearae-repentis).  The mycorrhiza helps the orchid absorb and assimilate nutrients.  The seeds of Goodyeera repens are probably the smallest of any plant."

1 comment:

  1. I am amazed. I never dreamt such amazing flowers existed, here in Canada or even elsewhere. Thank you for opening my eyes further to the wonders of nature.

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