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MORRIS: Abundant catchfly plants found in dry woods, fields

Morris artwork for Sept. 23

Morris artwork for Sept. 23

Gifts are hard to accept when we have done nothing to deserve them. I think it is as hard to accept cash as it is to accept an object when we have done nothing worthy of such generosity.

On the other hand, many of us find it easier to accept a verbal compliment than a material gift. Perhaps we are thinking "words are cheap and don't cost the giver anything."

Whenever I am given something without any connection to a service rendered I'm wondering where is the "hook?" What will this cost me later? My mail and e-mail is full of those "free" offers.

The gift that seems the most difficult to receive is the one thing that most perfectly reflects God's love -- a new life empowered by the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

The wildflower for today is another gift of beauty from God with no strings attached, simply free for us to enjoy.

ROYAL CATCHFLY

Silene regia

Several years ago I went to the wildflower garden at Georgia Perimeter College's Panthersville campus. While there, I photographed several clusters of catchfly plants.

They are native to America and found in dry woods and well drained fields. Though the S. regia is more abundant in the Midwest, it is thriving in Georgia.

The plants I photographed stood about 2 feet tall with thin stems; however, in the better habitats, they may reach 4 feet. The leaves of the royal catchfly are lance-shaped opposites, abundant at the base and less scattered up the stem.

The more common catchfly of the Eastern U.S. (Silene rotundifolia) has broader leaves.

The final feature I wish to note is the tube-shaped feature under the bright colored petals. Most plants in the pink family have this feature. The royal catchfly sepals are sticky with 10 veins, five of which are pronounced, as illustrated.

The 16th verse of the account of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus explains that whomever simply trusts and relies on what Jesus taught and did becomes the recipient of God's forgiveness and redemption.

Jesus' message was clear -- God unconditionally loves each of us and desires to liberate us from the evil within each of us by giving us a new start in life. There is no way to earn God's gracious gift but to accept it as an expression of His boundless love.

Tomorrow, the Master Gardeners Plant Sale will be held at the county facility on Parker Road. At 1:30 p.m., I will be making a visual presentation on 30 fall wildflowers present in this area of Georgia.

For a color image to the royal catchfly, go to www.rockdalecitizen.com and search Orrin Morris.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His e-mail is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.