Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hot Property

Crimson Spikes Across A Wide, Brown Land

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Here is one of the quintessential Australian sights - the crimson bottlebrush. You can see why it's called that - because it closely resembles the contraption used to clean bottles of every description. They're in full bloom at the moment and are very popular because they are hardy native plants that thrive in the hot, dry Australian conditions. Yes, believe me, it is hot and dry in Melbourne at the moment, even though summer is still ten days away.


Aparently there are more than 30 varieties of bottlebrush, which belong to the Callistemon genus. I took the first couple of shots on this post to give you an idea of how unusual the spikes are on each bloom. Early on in their life, each spike is tipped with a microscopic white dot that looks like a light-emitting diode, but these get progressively more dull as the blooms age. I shot this sequence in very bright light, so I had to work the angles carefully.

And while I had my head stuck between the branches in my normal get-the-best-shot mode, I noticed this branch (below) with the blood-red bloom just starting to sprout from the little green pods. After the flowers have withered, the empty pods turn into woody circles that look like miniature suckers on an octopus tentacle.

17 comments:

K M F said...

nice photos

david mcmahon said...

Thanks, KMF,

Not as hot as your part of the world (Dubai) but it's been scorching weather - perfect for the bottlebrush.

Cheers

David

Melissa said...

I have never seen these flowers before. They are gorgeous! I love the spikey look to them.

I can't imagine hot weather, at the moment the weather man is saying we might have snow flurries by the end of the week! Have a great day David.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Melissa,

They are unbelievably tough plants. Gotta be, in this climate.

You send us some snow and we'll send you some sunshine!

Chees

David

dr. filomena said...

My goodness David, this is georgeous!!! And wonderful photography. Red is such a pain to portray in digital photography, but you succeeded to perfection!

Dr. Filomena

lime said...

it's so lovely to come here and see bursts of summer color now that the northern hemisphere is in late autumn and nothign but brown. although yesterday we did have 8 inches of snow....

Digital Flower Pictures said...

David, thanks for posting the wonderful pictures and info about one of my favorite (sub)tropical trees.

I had one here in Connecticut that I used to take outside and plant and then overwinter in the greenhouse. It eventually gave up on me but I still remember all the joy that it brought. You just don't get that color too often in the garden around here.

BTW, I tend to like anything with a bottlebrush type of flower it is a very nice flower form.

Lee said...

David, Thank you so much for posting these pictures. I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas which is a semi-tropical climate. We had a bottle brush in our back yard and it seemed to do just fine. That was a long time ago and it has been years since I've seen one. Those are lovely pictures.

Peace!

backpakker said...

lovely colours ..full of energy and life ! I have started doing some writing these days (besides travel) on my blog, monologues and i must say your tips have been very helpful

CHEWY said...

Neato! Does it bite?

Driving With the Brakes On said...

Beautiful pictures! I am enjoying looking through your archives, and appreciate you taking the time to stop by my little spot on the web.

Thoughts for cooler weather coming your way - Denver has been unusually warm (in the low 70s), but we are due for a high of 38 tomorrow - only fitting for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Mahina said...

what an amazing flower! they are great for macro shots!! gorgeous!

~**Dawn**~ said...

Those are so neat!! They are so interesting & colorful. They look like the kind of flower Disney would use to landscape with. Disney always finds the coolest flowers to implement into their parks' landscaping.

Misty Dawn said...

They are gorgeous!

Cowgirl said...

Great shots, reminds me of the bottlebrush in our yard in Sydney, eons back! Loved the middle one especially with that powder blue sky. Magic!

eric1313 said...

Just dropping back here to see what I missed yesterday. These shots are all so vivid, they look like you can reach in and pluck a sprig from the trees and bushes that grew them.

*Goddess* said...

I've never heard of that, but it's absolutely beautiful in color.