Friday, May 27, 2011

Gaywings

  Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia) are flowers worth knowing about. Gaywings are also known as fringed polygala or flowering wintergreen.  Gaywings are small, purple spring flowers with evergreen leaves that look similar to the wintergreen plant.
Gaywings or Fringed polygala (Polygala paucifolia)
I took this shot to illustrate how the gaywings may have gotten their name.
   Many years ago, when I first encountered a patch of gaywings along a woods road, I remember thinking I had found some orchids.
   When I looked closer and saw that the flowers looked like toy airplanes, I figured the flowers were something else.  But, the flowers do have a similarity with orchids by having an unusual pollination system.  I'll post about the gaywings' ingenious pollination system in my next post.  Then I also plan to post about the gaywings' hidden secret; its cleistogamous flowers.
In the meantime, perhaps along a woods road near you...

To be continued...

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