A couple of days ago we reported on the progress of our little garden area along the fence. Specifically we showed you the fig trees, passion-fruit vines (maracuyá), and peanut plants. For the last several days I have been thoroughly intrigued with watching the maracuyá flowers blossom on our vines.
I believe the maracuyá vine flowers have a viable claim to being one of God’s most beautiful flowers. They are intricate, delicate, colorful, and yet highly functional. Unfortunately, they are short-lived and open up, attract bees for pollination, and dry up in the course of a day or two.
The last three or four days I have carried the camera over to the fence dozens of times to record the process.
This post will be a simple pictorial record of maracuyá flowers budding, blossoming, being pollinated, and fading to produce young fruit.
CAUTION: Some of the following pictures might be too visually stimulating for our snow-bound friends who have not seen flowers for many months. View at your own risk!
The process starts with buds forming up along the vines.
The flowers respond quickly to the warmth of the sun. I took a picture of this little bud yesterday in the morning:
And by two o’clock yesterday afternoon the magnificent flower had opened to its’ full splendor!
Three days ago I was thrilled to discover a solitary flower. But, yesterday the fence line was dotted with dozens of flowers.
The deep purple colors in the center of the flower seem to ripple outward to draw bees to the flowers.
And the multi-tiered stamen is positioned so that the bees can not avoid brushing against them when they come to visit.
Even though we enjoy this showy array, it has a greater purpose than just reminding us of the beauty and splendor of God’s creations. It is meant to attract bees!
As I watched – the bees arrived.
This one seems to be licking her lips trying to decide where to start first!
The bees did not seem to mind me being so close as I recorded them working the sides, bottoms, and tops of the nectar laden stamens.
As they work you can see the ball of yellow pollen amassing on the underside of the bees. The bees benefit from the nectar and pollen while fulfilling nature’s purpose in pollinating our maracuyá plants.
Like, “all good things” the maracuyá flower, having served its’ purpose must go and the flowers I watched the day before were already fading away.
But, again like so many other things in life, the beautiful grace of the short-lived flower is quickly replaced by the maracuyá fruit!
In a few more weeks, Mary and I will be collecting ripe maracuyá to make juice that is as sweet as the maracuyá flower is beautiful here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!