New flower, and new kit: Reseda phyteuma (Corn mignonette)

Inflorescence of Reseda phyteuma

Inflorescence of Reseda phyteuma

I go out these days not expecting to see much in the way of flowers – but keen to see something because I have new kit to try out.  Chaiselongue and I decided, in the traditional spirit of seasonal extravagance and instant gratification, to exchange presents early, which for me means I now have her  Pentax K7 with a spanking new 100mm macro lens. If your main subject is flowers, this is not the most exciting time of year. So I wander in the vines with a mixture of hope and resignation, and when I see something I haven’t seen before I’m more excited and grateful than usual.  And this little flower is now my new best friend.

R.phyteuma in vineyard

R.phyteuma in vineyard

Reseda phyteuma (Corn mignonette, in an English which seems more like Franglais) is a small plant, usually only 10-30cm tall, which likes sandy and dry ground. I found this in a vineyard which is on a flood plain of a small river, so the soil is sand and gravel. In French mignon means pretty, or cute, and I guess the frilly petals fit that description.  Other distinguishing features: the six sepals look like small leaves, and the stamens seem out of scale for the small flower; they bear pink or orange anthers. It is supposed to flower from April to September – this one has lost its calendar.

I haven’t used the macro that much yet, but I do find the 100mm lens means I can get pictures which look close, without having to lie on the ground with my nose in the leaves.  And joy of joys, I can focus on what I want however slender or small, without the camera deciding that what I really need is a clear photo of the earth behind it.  I’m still finding out what it can do, but it’s making me interested in investigating leaves, so expect more of this sort of thing:

Leaves of Geranium in the garden

Leaves of Geranium in the garden

Et maintenant, c’est mignon, c’est chouette, c’est Thurston Harris et  Little bitty pretty one, de 1957.

Coming up next: trees with balls.

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