Solomon's seal

Some of my favorite spring flowers–and I have many favorites–are painfully shy, hiding inconspicuous blossoms under showy leaves.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Solomon’s seal (pictured above) is quite lovely, dangling clusters of small, whitish blossoms resembling lily of the valley…but you have to crouch to your knees to see them. Jack-in-the-pulpit (pictured right) is similarly reclusive, hiding a greenish spadix inside a green-streaked spathe, the entire arrangement shaded by the plant’s large, compound leaves.

Most of us associate the word “flower” with something showy and colorful: a splash of color that clamors to be noticed. But both Solomon’s seal and Jack-in-the-pulpit are masters of modesty, sheltering and concealing their reproductive parts rather than flaunting them for all to see. How many people have passed these two species growing right alongside a residential sidewalk, unaware that plant sex was happening beneath their eyes?

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Minimalism.