BRIDE’S FEATHERS Aruncus dioicus
A number of droughts have characterized the last decade. They continued for many months even though we had gotten a scattered shower or two. Sudden downpours were welcomed but the ground stayed hard and the rain from downpours merely washed across the surface rather than soaking in.
Now we hear people fussing because we have been getting annual records of rain, especially on weekends. However, I do have deep compassion for those who are victims of flooding and fallen trees, especially the trees that were structurally damaged by drought.
There is a verse in Psalm 42 that comes to mind, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (v. 1 NIV).
It does not take long when working in the sun to develop a thirst. Soon we will be regularly involved in mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, trimming the hedges, and so on. It is very important that we keep ourselves hydrated by drinking water.
When the month of June arrives we think of brides and wedding parties. This wildflower fits the season.
In a month or so, during May and June, this wildflower will bloom and thus its name is likely associated with the bride’s bouquet or floral displays.
Bride’s feathers has male and female flowers on separate plants.
The blooms of both are white but the male plants are more easily recognized by fuller spikes, that is, the many stamens of the male flower cause the overall structure to appear larger. Often the female plants are thought to be slow bloomers, lagging behind their neighboring plants in maturing. Sometimes the female blooms are so inconsequential that they are overlooked.
The bride’s feathers, in the rose family, may grow to 7 feet in an ideal moist habitat but I’ve never seen one over 5 feet. The leaves are large compound units with five leaflets, as pictured. Note the toothed margins of the leaflets and the raised veins. Another name given this plant is goat’s beard, but bride’s feathers is more appropriate for this season.
In the same way as a deer seeks water, especially during a drought, the second phrase of today’s Scripture applies to the natural thirst of our spirit for God. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1).
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center Street in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.