BLADDER CAMPION Silene cucubalus
Peter often posed questions to Jesus. One of those times he asked if forgiving a person seven times was the limit. Jesus said that was not enough and proposed 70 times seven (Matthew 18:22).
That command by Jesus is often very difficult to me because I cannot hide behind ignorance and say it is an obscure passage and impossible to understand. I have the temptation to take some sayings of Jesus and avoid them with that kind of logic. Not so with this.
I have come to realize there are two very important aspects to this simple and straightforward statement. First, God is the great “forgiver” and 70 times seven is what He has done in my life, again and again. Thank you, Lord.
The second aspect is that unless we have a forgiving spirit, all our anger, resentment, jealousy and hurt feelings keep heaping up and weighing us down. All the bitterness that we keep nurturing is like a cancer that everyone can see in our eyes and hear in our voice. God wants us to be free of such self-destructive attitudes.
Bladder campion depicts this truth. The flower is beautiful but the bladder underneath the bloom looks strangely out of place.
As pictured, the bladder campion has a balloon-like structure between the stem (pedicil) and the bloom. This is called the calyx or the base of the flower. Most flowers have a very inconspicuous calyx made up of green petal-like lobes.
The flowers of the bladder campion are about 1 inch wide with five petals, a common characteristic of the pink family. Each petal has a notch that creates two lobes that vary in depth according to subspecies.
The ones I photographed have slight notches, but I have seen photos that show cuts so deep that there appears to be 10 petals. The chickweeds in this area have the same type of notching.
Another unique feature of the bladder campion is that each bloom has three pistils (female component) whereas most wildflowers have only one pistil.
Bladder campion plants range in height from 12 to 30 inches. Their favorite habitat is fields and roadsides, but in this region they seem to prefer stream banks and similar moist areas. The leaves are lance shaped, as pictured, and range from 1 1/2 to 4 inches. The blooming season is from April through August.
Jesus ended His response to Peter saying that if you expect forgiveness from God you must “forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). May all of us find that peace which God seeks for us to have.
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. Email him at email@example.com.