Sunday, August 16, 2009

moonflower kigo

a moonflower fell -
midnight sound
.............. ......Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902)

The moonflower, Ipomoea alba, is a kigo for late spring / early summer. Its large, fragrant, round blossoms are revealed after dusk in a dramatically rapid fashion, often seeming to almost spring open.

Related to the morning glory, it is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of North and South America. The large 4-5 inch flowers range in color from white to pink, and are often cultivated as a garden ornamental. In regions like Florida, it can become an invasive twining pest, choking out other plants.

The pre-Colombian Mesoamericans civilizations used the high sulfur content of the moonflower plant to vulcanize latex from the Catilla elastica tree into rubber balls used in arena sports.

Here is a moon flower opening in real time, a mere 72 seconds:

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