The Mardi Gras Spider

When I found this Green Lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) lurking among the goldenrod and liatris last September, I was most struck by the combination of traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple, green, and gold.

Between a certain pandemic and the deep freeze afflicting Texas and Louisiana this year, traditional Mardi Gras celebrations have been in short supply. But this is the day: King Cakes are being shared, beads are hanging from car mirrors, and gumbo pots are simmering. Les bons temps may not be rolling, but they’re still creeping along — just like this bit of natural celebration.

 

Comments always are welcome.

A Plant Made for Mardi Gras

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras — purple, green, and gold — usually are associated with King Cakes, beads, costumes, and masks.

But over the course of a season, the silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) displays those same colors: first in flower, then in unripened and maturing fruits.

Who knows? Perhaps in the middle of their life cycle, the plants throw a party and call out to one another, “Laissez les bonnes fleurs rouler!”

Silverleaf nightshade flower ~ Bandera County, Texas

 

Silverleaf nightshade fruit forming ~ Brazoria County, Texas

 

Silverleaf nightshade ripened fruits ~ Tallgrass Prairie Bottoms, Kansas

 

 

Comments always are welcome.