Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hitchhikers in My Photo

Drosophila melanogaster (Fruit Flies) on Aroid Fruit.


Sometimes I will take a picture only to notice unseen details that were not apparent in the initial glance I gave the subject the first time through. For example, I might snap a picture of a flock of ducks only to later find that there were three different species and different age groups. This photo was one of those hitchhiker cases where the Drosophila managed to sneak in and even dominate my picture! I snapped the picture of the aroid, wanting to highlight the deep, rich wine-red fruit, only to notice, during editing, that the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) had beaten me to the fruit! I happen to think their bright orange eyes are rather fetching anyhow, so, rather than crop them out, they become the focus of the picture! That's not to ignore or belittle the really cool, alien-looking fungus growing on the spoiled fruit!

Photos allow us to see the intracacies and interdepencies of nature, even when we are wisk right by incredible wonders as we fly through our hectic, harried existences.

Oh yeah, what's an Aroid you say? For you plant nerds out there, Wiki says Aroids are in the family Araceae, a family of monocotyledonous (think grass, corn, wheat, orchids) flowering plants in which flowers are borne on a type of inflorescence called a spadix (the cylindrical structure in the above photo with all the red fruit on it). Got it right?

You might recognize some aroids including favorites such as Anthuriums (of Hawaiian hybrid fame), Colocasia esculenta (taro - a.k.a., the root Hawaiians mash to make Poi) and Xanthosoma roseum (Elephant ear or ‘ape, a common garden plant in warmer climates). A botanical garden favorite, Amorphophallus titanum (Titan arum), one of the largest flowers in the world, is also an arum. Also included are Dieffenbachia, Caladium, and one of my favorite aquarium plants, Cryptocoryne! One of our favorite office plants, Philodendron, is also an Aroid as is, you guessed it, Skunk Cabbage!Duckweed is another common member of the Araceae family.

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