Wednesday, May 8, 2013

fetidly macabre




Pawpaw is also in bloom. Its blossoms have an odd color, one reminiscent of meat past its prime. But in this case, the tree's fetid flowers (also known as carrion flowers) have an odor to match. They smell foul, something like rotting meat. This is because pawpaws and other plants with such smelly blooms employ the malodorous strategy to attract a certain kind of discriminating insect. They are pollinated by blowflies or other scavenging flies and beetles.

Since pawpaws like to grow near water, I thought it might be appropriate to end with something from the Master of the Macabre himself:

“A sombre yet beautiful and peaceful gloom here pervaded all things ... the shade of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element with darkness."
 

- From "The Island of the Fay” by Edgar Allen Poe. Photo taken at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.

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