Ecosphere Children

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons

Each year, the magic touch of the rains awakens the earth. A kaleidoscope of life springs out wherever there is uncovered soil, especially in our forests. This floral show keeps changing from week to week, as if Nature is on a fashion parade of sorts. Naturalists call these short-lived floral displays the Ephemeral Flush Vegetation. Here are some beauties:

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Crinum Lilies: These trumpet-shaped flowers inaugurate the monsoon flush by appearing very soon after the first showers, even before they grow their leaves.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Sufed Musli: They cover the ground with carpets of their pure white blooms, looking like many snowflakes. The locals cook their stems and leaves into a kind of stew.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Yellow Ground Stars: Dotting the landscape and hugging the ground, they look like bright little stars. The locals call it Kali Musli and use its tubers in various medicines.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Cup-and-Saucer plants: As the monsoon progresses, they, with their crimson cup-like fruits and greenish saucer-like calyx, remind one of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Forest Ghost Flowers: Next to streams, in the shade of other plants, rise these flowers in pink and purple hues. These parasites draw nourishment from the roots of other plants and do not have green leaves to carry out the food-making process: photosynthesis.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Turmeric: Their rhizomes in the ground are a much-coveted ingredient in our kitchens: Turmeric. Their flowers are bright yellow and also bear large showy pinkish violet bracts.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Wild yam: They have straight, sturdy stalks ending in a snake-like hooded head that bears foetid male and female flowers. Flies find this smell irresistible and are drawn to them. Their starchy underground root, known as Wild Yam, is a popular food.

Ephemeral flush of the monsoons
Glory Lilies: Towards the end of the monsoons, these climbers bear the most spectacular chandelier-like crimson and orange flowers with twisted petals: the Glory Lilies, which bloom during the Ganpati festival and are offered to the Lord Ganesh by devotees.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 1:59:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/ephemeral-flush-of-the-monsoons/article33633376.ece

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