Friday, July 29, 2016

turk's cap

I’m working on completing my collection of photos of orange-flowers. Why? It’s such a finite set; there are so very few of them.

To locate the native orange lily, you have to drive up into the mountains. (I’ve already posted on two non-native imports: tiger lily and orange daylily.) Although it looks something like a tiger lily, the Turk's cap lily has been here all along, it's not an import. It predates even my hillbilly ancestry and grows in the higher elevations of the national park in mid-summer, essentially on top of Old Smoky.

The petals of this statuesque wildflower curve sharply backward on themselves. This once gave someone the impression of the caps worn historically by the Turks, hence the name.

For some reason, in the floral world, nature eschews the color orange. 

Even UT orange was originally picked because of the center color of the ox-eye daisies that grew on the Hill (that's where I took my science courses). And if you know your flowers, that's more of a Pittsburgh Steelers golden-yellow than orange. 

From the UT Traditions website, "The school colors of orange & white date to April 12, 1889, when Charles Moore, president of the University's athletic association, chose the colors for the first field day. His inspiration came from the orange and white daisies which grew profusely on the Hill. In 1891, students again wore orange and white to the Sewanee football game. In 1892, students endorsed the colors at a special meeting called for the purpose, but two years later were dissatisfied with the choice and voted to drop the colors. After a heated one-day debate no other colors proved satisfactory, so the students returned to orange and white."

Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). There were no "orange" flowers growing on the hill when UT picked out their uniform colors.

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