One of the most therapeutic ways to lift one’s spirit is to explore nature. Nature can provide a world of shock just when you think nothing can surprise you anymore, and flowers are some of its most loyal agents. Flowers make the world beautiful, adding a lot of cheerful color and fragrance (although not always pleasant) to the environment.
There are thousands of species of flowers, and some of them aren’t just a sight for sore eyes. Some unique flowers and flowering plants display really interesting responses to external stimuli. The most common one is the shameplant, popularly called ‘touch me not’ which, as a defense mechanism, recoils its compound leaves inward when touched. It slowly reopens minutes after.
There’s also the beautiful skeleton flower, a white-petal woodland blossom that makes magic when it’s wet. You may easily walk by these flowers at first without noticing anything special but pass by again on a rainy day and get ready to catch your breath. The petals turn glassy translucent, as though they are exposing an inner skeleton. Simply amazing!
These are so rare that they can only be found in three locations around the world – China, Japan, and the Appalachian Mountains in the USA. Flowers like this can only grow in moist and cold climates and these and there are three different species of the genus: Diphylleia cymosa in the Appalachians, Diphylleia Sinensis in Japan and Diphylleia grayi in China. These species are the perennial flowering plants that produce the skeleton flower.
What better magician than nature?
The flowering plants in the Diphylleia genus are also called, “Umbrella plants” because they form clumps of large, fuzzy, green, umbrella-like leaves. The skeleton flowers cluster on top with feather-light and cotton-white petals, dotted with green and yellow centers.
These spring-blooming flowers turn translucent when wet due to their loose cell structure. When they come in contact with a steady supply of water for a little while, the water droplets stick to the exposed veiny structure, filling up the lattices and causing increased light reflection. The flower would then take on the crystal clear appearance of water, turning completely translucent.
Contrary to what most people assume, the pigment of the petals does not wash out as the white color returns when the flower is dry again. This is because the water droplets have evaporated from the lattices.
In the final stage of transformation, after they’ve been pollinated, skeleton flowers produce a blue-colored berry.
If you live in a cool climate, you could plant your own skeleton flowers in a planter or the earth. The flowers are sensitive to sunlight, so the best growing conditions are partial or complete shade. Skeleton flowers are perennial and require low maintenance. The most important thing is to ensure that they are thriving in well-drained, moist soil rich in organic matter.
The flowering plant dies back in winter, and while the flower is a hardy blossom that can survive near-freezing temperatures, you’d have to add a layer of mulch on top. Also, reduce the watering frequency during winter and at the end of the season, cut back dead leaves for the new bloom. You may also begin to add organic fertilizer at this point.
Keep Reading: 10 Vegetables That Tolerate Partial Sun And Shade
- Mimosa Pudica. Plants Rescue. https://www.plantsrescue.com/tag/shameplant/. Retrieved 09-04-2020
- Naveen A. These Stunningly Rare ‘Skeleton Flowers’ Turn Transparent When It Rains. Shared. https://daily.shared.com/these-skeleton-flowers-turn-beautifully-transparent-when-it-gets-wet-in-the-rain?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1586091833. Retrieved 09-04-2020
- Taylor Morgan. The Skeleton Flower is the Chameleon of the Woods. garden Collage. https://gardencollage.com/inspire/wild-earth/skeleton-flower/. Retrieved 09-04-2020