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ORRIN MORRIS: An evergreen ground cover, iceplant is drought tolerant

The Apostle Paul, writing to the fledgling church in Corinth, taught them about the Godlike love that seeks what is best for others. Paul traveled widely helping new converts understand that Jesus was unique in that He introduced God as the loving Father.

Throughout the world, religions taught that the gods were to be appeased by sacrifices or they would cause illness, death or various types of catastrophes.

Paul's message was the opposite. God loved them and sought a relationship of faith and trust for the well being of everyone. Paul preached and explained the truth about God that had been hidden until Jesus dwelt among us.

Yet with all that knowledge, understanding and faith, Paul declared all was useless without the Godlike love. He wrote, "And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2).

All of us have endured the arrogant or pompous pronouncements of persons who are often called know-it-alls. We are chilled by their aloofness.

On the other hand, there are wise people who walk with us in love, ever learning and gently sharing.

The wildflower for today has a name that is like the atmosphere around the know-it-all but, in reality, is a lowly plant bathed in the sun, reflecting the love of God in nature.SLENDERLEAF ICEPLANT

Delosperma cooperiSeveral years ago, we had iceplant in our flower bed. I assumed it was a nursery plant until I visited the wildflower garden at Perimeter College. Further research has revealed it to be an import from Southern Africa.

This iceplant is an evergreen ground cover that rarely rises more than 6 inches. It spreads out in clumps of thin water-filled leaves, but is not considered invasive.

It requires full sun in well-drained sandy soil, that is, it likes day-long sun and dry feet. Because of such drought tolerance, one author refers to iceplant as a "parking lot plant."

The blooms of this Iceplant are magenta and measure to 1 inch across. The petals are numerous and narrow, as pictured. The blooming season covers many months depending on the warmth and dryness of the seasons.

There is another wildflower called iceplant (Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum). It is found along the West Coast, mainly in California. Its bloom is white with a yellow center.

I have reintroduced this wildflower today not because it blooms now. In fact, it blooms during the summer months.

It is so featured because our winter mornings are icy at times; however, its beauty inspires me to wish you a new year blessed with a steady stream of happy occasions.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. This column is included in a two-volume set of books of wildflower columns he has published. To purchase the books, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center St. in Olde Town Conyers.