Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Monsoon Lilies

No other flower reminds me more of my childhood in Mumbai than the Spider Lily. It is truly an exquisite flower though its fragrance is very mild. 

It has a structure that is very intriguing; with a white translucent base cup on a longish light green hollow stem, six thin long white petals are attached to back of this cup with dark green stamen emerging from the front and rim of the cup aligned to these white petals. At the end of this stamen is the pod of pollen almost an inch long. The stigma stands out separately from the centre of the cup and is attached to the base of the long hollow stem. Perfectly round drops of water adhere to the surface of the base cup adding to the monsoon magic. When in full bloom each flower and every part of it stands out separately and the freshness and whiteness of bunches of these flowers is so pretty a sight that it is hard to forget.

Though it blooms abundantly in the monsoon in Mumbai it seems it can tolerate much harsher climes also. It is said that the harmonious design of this (desert!!) flower inspired the design of the Bruj Khalifa in Dubai which is the tallest tower in the world!!

In Mumbai, these plants are largely planted lining paths in gardens and flowerbeds around apartment buildings. The blooms are at just the right height for kids to reach out and pluck. The yellow pollen dust would readily stick to the hands and stain our clothes when we went picking these. The sticky gel oozing from the plucked stem of the flower did have an unpleasant smell but not enough to put us off. As kids we called these flowers Monsoon lilies and so I have named my collage the same.

– The monsoon Lilies. Size: 11.5"x8"


Anonymous said...

Dear V,
I have always been a great fan of this exquisite work you do. Monsoon lilies definitely refreshed my childhood memories...Thank you for such an awesome visual treat.

Kathryn Uster said...

Vijaya, This collage came out just beautiful! I like the way you showed the close up too. Being in the Northeastern U.S. most of my life, I miss the orange Tiger Lilies that grew wild there. One of my favorites that would grow about 2 feet high. Keep up the excellent work!

Vijaya said...

Thank you Kate and A for the very kind words of encouragement.