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ORRIN MORRIS: Ruellia could take root under hedges next to home

RUELLIA Ruellia caroliniensis

RUELLIA Ruellia caroliniensis

Wildflowers are a special source of blessing to me. First, I like the great variety of shapes and colors that enrich my sense of sight. Second, I like the fact that wildflowers are the handiwork of the Lord and not the tinkering of mankind. Third, they do not cost me anything, as long as I avoid the poisonous and the invasive ones.

I can’t watch television today without my senses being bombarded with manmade devices that shout a constant stream of messages and flash gaudy colors, in an attempt to hold my attention. Because of that and other din, I find great pleasure in the quiet places where wildflowers are found.

Truly, as the Psalmist said, “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all he has made” (Psalm 145:9). May you have the opportunity to discover one of His hidden gifts.

RUELLIA

Ruellia caroliniensis

This funnel shaped flower is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter with five light lavender petals, or lobes. The veins on the lobes are a darker lavender, as illustrated. The flower has five stamens with heavy white pollen. The pistil is white also and extends out farther than the stamen.

The broad roughly contoured leaves are opposites along the stem and the blooms emerge where the leaves join the stalk. Generally, the plant stands about 2 feet tall, but wherever they are regularly mowed, they adapt by running along the ground.

Ruellia, also called Carolina wild petunia, is a common wildflower that inhabits open woods. It thrives best in well drained soils, thus, it can be hurt by drought. Its propensity to grow in shade and dry places means you probably should start looking for it in your own yard. The wide roof overhangs of modern houses generally keep water away from the foundation at ground level, so start by looking under and behind your hedges.

There does not appear to be any medicinal or herbal benefits to the lowly ruellia, but its beauty that extends from May to late July provides pleasure to the finder.

Do you remember the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” I like wandering along a creek or exploring the woods until I find a blossom that no one has seen before and probably no one else will ever see. Oh, what a special treat it is to be the observer of such a gift from God.

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 St. in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.