Hoary Stock

hoary-stockName: Hoary Stock – Matthiola incana

Meaning: Lasting beauty

Also called “night-scented stock” or “evening-scented stock”, but the name Hoary Stock made me smirk. The flowers may have lasting beauty and a gorgeous clovy scent but the lasting beauty does not extend to the water that stocks have been sitting in, after a couple of days it will be truly disgusting.

Day 29 #100days

Passionflower – Religious Sentimentality

23-passionflowerName: Purple Passionflower – Passiflora Edulis

Meaning: Religious superstition

The most striking thing about the passionflower apart from its stylised and slightly alien appearance, is the extent to which it has been co-opted as a metaphor to explain a wide number of religious and cultural ideas.

First, 10 points for you if you knew that in Christian theology the ‘Passion’ in Passionflower refers not to garden variety lust, but to the Passion of Christ, that short and traumatic period between Christ’s entry to Jerusalem and his betrayal and crucifixion.

15th and 16th century Spanish Christian missionaries used the parts of the flower to illustrate the passion story as follows, (thanks Wikipedia!):

In India, it is also used to illustrate a religious idea as it colloquially called “Paanch Paandav”. The five anthers are interpreted as the five Pandavas, the divine Krishna is at the centre.

In less religiously charged interpretations, the distinctive shape of the flower leads to it being called some version of Clock Flower in such disparate cultures as Israel, Greece and Japan. In Turkey, the shape of the flowers have reminded people of Rota Fortunae, or the Wheel of Fortune.




Hibiscus – Delicate Beauty

22-hibiscusName: Creeping hibiscus – Abelmoschus Moschatus Tuberosis
Meaning: Delicate beauty

This is not the flashiest hibiscus. And I’m really not feeling great about my version of it, if I had the time I’d have another go. But I figure out of the 100 there are bound to be a few I don’t like. That’s the process.

What is still fascinating to me though, is that connection through time I feel with a person who has taken the time to study and faithfully record this delicate creeping thing.

And can you imagine how delicate a beauty any sort of hibiscus would have been to the European eye?

My painting is inspired by a botanical painting by Ferdinand Bauer, 1803, The plant was collected at Caledon Bay, Northern Territories, Australia. Plate from Botanical Prints by N & E Robson

Day 22 100 days project #100daysnz

Toadstool – Curiosity


Name: Toadstool – Fly Agaric or amanita muscaria
Meaning: ‘Curiosity’ (Meaning for all mushrooms)
All mushrooms are edible – but some only once (1). The Fly agaric is poisonous, and causes psychoactive delirium and occasionally death, (although it is by no means the most poisonous fungus) However the unceasing and apparently quite universal human desire to experience altered consciousness means that many cultures, such as Siberian, Finnish, and Afgans have found ways to prepare and consume the Fly Agaric to ‘fly’ whilst not actually dying. This quality means the fly agaric has been incorporated in the Shamanic rituals. It is also apparently a handy insecticide, although given its other qualities, maybe not a particularly user friendly one.
There are very strong fokloric associations with fairies, elves and pixies. The difference between these different types of magical folk is unclear but evidently you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of them. A circle of tall, dark grass within a ring of toadstools, accompanied by a ring of dark earth, was called a Fairy Ring. Stepping into it could change your luck for good or for bad and cause or cure illness. Alarmingly unspecific as a medical technique, consult your GP first.
According to mythologist Robert Graves, this was the ambrosia of the gods and the food that centaurs ate. Go on, you always wondered didn’t you?
Day 21 #100daysnz
Painting inspired by image by Katie Scott, P13 Botanicum

(1) This is a saying, not advice.  Don’t eat mushrooms unless you’re 100% certain on their identification.