Sunday, July 11, 2010

Datura Magic

The datura in the front garden had a tinge of violet around the outer inner part of the bud last night and I have not seen it this intense of a color before. I decided it would be a good night to photograph it opening. I have watched the datura bloom open many times before and it is something that leaves me transfixed.

The sequence from close spiral to open flower only takes about a half an hour. Even before it is open it begins to emit it's amazing scent which drifts in the evening air.

The open flower has ten points around the outside of the bloom. When studying the unopened bud one can see that the spiral is made up of five outer points and five inner points. The flower bud expands and the spiral unwinds until the inner points suddenly release their hold and the flower literally pops open and then one can see it slowly move as it continues to expand to full.

One of the most impressive elements of the bloom is the spiral. This shape is so familiar to us from nature in the form of shells, flowers, cactus spine arrangements, our milky way galaxy, our inner ear, and many more. The flower bud is upon first inspection a right handed spiral, but a closer look reveals that it makes a turn in the center and spirals back out. This type of configuration is known as a double spiral and has some symbolic significance which represents an evolution and then an involution, or a coming into being and then back out. A metaphor for life and death. But the most magical aspect of this datura blooming is that these five interlocking spiraling lines traveling in and then back out again are but a single circular line. The line around the edge of the flower. Amazing to think that it grew folded that way.