Helleborine orchid and close-up Zinnias

This is a non-native orchid, which Ontario Wildflowers says may be invasive, but it doesn’t seem to be crowding out my twitch grass 🙂

Helleborine
Helleborine orchid (Epipactus helleborine)

It’s only tiny (this flower is less than 1cm or about 1/3 inch) though on a spike of flowers.

This close up of a zinnia shows the flowers-within-a-flower that is typical of composites.  The “petals” are ray-florets and these are disk florets.

Zinnia disk floret
Zinnia disk floret

To put it in perspective, here is a collection of whole flowers:

Zinnias
Zinnias

These were grown from seed.

Finally, one more picture of the castor bean flowers.  The male and female are separate flowers which appear on the same plant.  Here you see both (white is male, the red star-shaped part  on top of the spiky ball is the stamen which shrivels and leaves the spiky part to harden and become sharp to protect the seeds which are also poisonous to us, though presumably there are creatures which eat them or they wouldn’t need the armour).

Castor bean flower
Castor bean flower

 

The difference between last year’s rain and this year’s drought

For those who guessed at my mystery plant flower, here is the entire plant from this year, with me for scale.  This has been a year of drought, I lost a few plants as I had no time to water but most just didn’t grow well.  Compare with the next plant of the same species but from last year when we had near-record rainfall.

Castor bean plant
Castor bean plant
Eric as a garden gnome
Eric as a garden gnome

Hard to believe these are the same type of plant, grown about a meter apart in consecutive years.  I grow them for the leaves so a bit of a disappointment this year, though the flowers were actually larger than before, in compensation.