Reddish alert

The day after the Giant Moon Blockout Party, or whatever, what I thought was a leftover stem from this year’s white irises, presumably in hibernation until spring, suddenly straightened up, and over the next couple of days produced, well, this:

Mysterious red-orange flower

I tossed a version of this picture up on Twitter to see what the hive mind had to say; first response (via @s_r_s) was red spider lily (Lycoris radiata), about which much has been said:

When the flowers of lycoris bloom, their leaves would have fallen; when their leaves grow, the flowers would have wilted. This habit gave rise to various legends. A famous one is the legend of two elves: Mañju, who guarded the flower, and Saka, who guarded the leaves. Out of curiosity, they defied their fate of guarding the herb alone, and managed to meet each other. At first sight, they fell in love with each other. God, exasperated by their waywardness, separated the miserable couple, and laid a curse on them as a punishment: the flowers of Mañju shall never meet the leaves of Saka again.

It was said that when the couple met after death in Diyu (hell), they vowed to meet each other after reincarnation. However, neither of them could keep their word.

So evidently it belongs here, in the land of frustrated longings.

(A full three-point-whatever megapixel shot is on Flickr.)

1 comment

  1. Dr. Weevil »

    2 October 2015 · 9:33 pm

    Not exactly a myth but another love affair (or two):
    The scientific name Lycoris also refers to an ancient beauty who was mistress of Cornelius Gallus and later of Marc Antony, with some less famous lovers in between. Gallus was not only a successful general and governor of Egypt after the fall of Antony and Cleopatra until he annoyed Augustus and was driven to suicide. He was also a poet admired for his love elegies, addressed to Lycoris, so she is mentioned by several of the greatest Roman poets: Vergil, Propertius, Ovid, and Martial.
    Was the flower named after her? I don’t know, but it’s a very attractive flower.

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