potted spring excitement, with no bulb in sight

Chinese Wild Ginger Asarum Splendens

Spring comes to the sunless recesses of our roof garden.

I must leave to others, meaning anyone who can plant or is able to overlook gardens touched directly by the rays of our life-sustaining star, the delights of brightly-colored bulb flowers. Our own garden pleasures are more subtle, and sometimes more exotic.

The odd growth shown above is apparently a flower, but there is always only one (it's in a pot after all). It appears each year at this time within the very healthy clump of evergreen wild Chinese ginger which has naturalized itself in one of our terrace pots. It's surprisingly hard, or woody, to the touch. It is, as might be easily imagined, even more bizarre before it actually opens to (barely) announce itself: The first time I spotted it, at least five years ago, I thought it was a piece of debris fallen from an upstairs window. I was about to pull it out when I noticed that it was somehow connected to the tangle of shiny green leaves all around it which had miraculously survived the winter unaltered.

With all respect to the excellent mushroom and the magical truffle, this node? appears to be somewhere on the evolutionary ladder between fungi and what we think of when we say "flower", regardless of its actual botanical status. While it certainly suggests a sexual appurtenance, it also looks like it would have no interest in, and no chance of, attracting the reproductive ministrations of a bee.

Hi James,

It's normally pollinated by crawling insects - such as beetles.