Discovering one charming group of rain lilies (Zephyranthes chlorosolen) at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge was immensely satisfying, but nature had another surprise in store: a second bouquet so beautifully arranged it might have been created by a professional florist.
After admiring the second clump of flowers, I turned my attention to individual lilies scattered along the roadside, and found them teeming with life. Emerging rain lily buds, elegant as the flowers themselves, played host to a number of tiny grasshopper nymphs who hugged the slender stems.
Among the blooms, a dozen or more Lesser Meadow Katydid nymphs (genus Conocephalus ) roamed and nibbled.
Tempted by pollen and nectar, hoverflies joined the party.
Some insects secreted themselves within the flowers’ depths, closing the door behind them. Here, a spider or caterpillar might have been at work. Despite my curiosity, I chose to imagine a ‘Do Not Disturb” sign and moved on.
One camera-shy crab spider retreated beneath the petals so quickly I missed a clear image, but she’d found a beautiful place to await her prey. Rather than spinning a web, many of these spiders engage in lurking: snatching up unwary visitors seeking nectar or seeds.
Even a few minutes of roadside observation confirms an important truth: as much as we enjoy decorating our homes with flowers, innumerable creatures consider the flowers themselves to be their homes: places of shelter and sustenance. We’re lucky they’re willing to invite us in.