Oct 20th, 2016

Nature’s Oddities

A passion vine bloom resembles an animated creature

Animated creature? (passion vine bloom). Photo by Don Williamson

Discover the Weird and Wacky in Nature

Oddities of nature surround us. The great outdoors is where curiosity is not disappointed, it finds discovery. Quirky findings aren’t rare, they abound. Strangeness is not manmade, it comes naturally.

Tiny turk squash resembles a miniature squash wearing a pumpkin-like hat.

Pumpkin-topped acorn? (tiny turk squash)

A bizarre-shaped veggie intrigues passersby to pause and ponder its form. A seed head resembling a face brings a smile to yours. A found object inspires a nickname from the realm of fantasy. Or, the eeriness of an earthling insect brings to mind an intergalactic creature.

Nature’s oddities surround us, but you have to notice them to enjoy them. That requires heading outside, slowing down and looking—really looking—at plants, trees, insects, wildlife and all that intersects. Forewarning: Nature has a keen sense of humor, so get yours ready. A strong dose of imagination helps, too. If yours is rusty, take a child along.

A few wonders from RVA are pictured as a salute to Nature’s Oddities … with a nod to Halloween. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden displays other October Oddities in the Children’s Garden, daily through Oct. 31.

Baby boo pumpkins are tiny and white.

Albino veggies? (baby boo pumpkins). Photo by Kristin Thoroman

Hyacinth beans growing on a stalk resemble birds.

Birds, coming and going? (hyacinth beans).

Osage orange with wrinkled exterior resembles brains.

Ghastly brains? (osage orange).

Bunny ears cactus looks like a creature crawling across the ground.

Prickly creature on the move? (bunny ears cactus). Photo by Don Williamson

A witch hazel bloom has hanging, bright-yellow petals that resemble a fire-breathing dragon.

Fire-breathing dragon? (witch hazel bloom). Photo by Don Williamson

A praying mantis has odd features, resembling those of a science-fiction invader.

Sci-fi invader? (praying mantis). Photo by Don Williamson

Two paperbush flower buds are growing in a way that looks like they are fighting one another.

Creature conflict? (paperbush flower buds). Photo by Don Williamson]

Buds of a bromeliad, which resemble loaded guns, are pointed in rows as if aiming to fire.

Ready, aim, fire? (bromeliad buds). Photo by Don Williamson

A close-up of a butterfly wing features a marking resembling a large eye. Nature is amazing!

“Eye” see you! (marking on butterfly wing.) Photo by Tim Maupin

This article first appeared in The Richmond Times Dispatch in October 2016.

About Lynn Kirk

Lynn Kirk, a freelance writer and marketing consultant, has collaborated with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden since 2002. She considers it a joy and privilege to write newspaper articles and member newsletters for such a top-rated (and utterly gorgeous!) public garden.

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