Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hot, Loud and Proud in November

 Calotropis gigantea, giant milkweed or crown flower, grows to be a big shrub. It is a weed because it can thrive even in mostly disturbed wastelands of hot and dry areas. The flowers are also waxy in either white or lavender. This white Calotropis gigantea was seen in Batanes, Philippines. It is growing in the wild sandy soil near the beaches. It is also a host for a very beautiful butterfly, whose larvae specifically eats only this plant. (Can you see the very red spider at the rightmost flower?).
This purple species is found in Dubai Desert, which is the only dicot plant found there. The more common plants there are just the monocotyledonous weeds. Also a noticeable difference is the waxy leaves which resemble a thick film cover because of deposited desert dust. The profuse flowers of these plants here somehow tell me they are still happy without water.
Pods develop from those center parts of the flower, and seeds are scattered by winds. References reported economic importance in making fibers and medicinal use. I saw this unopened flowers in Thailand being made into garlands too.

This lump of plants on a Dubai desert knoll keeps sand in this area not to be easily swept by wind. Maybe the area became a knoll because the roots hold the sand firmly there. However, this is an exempted area to pass for desert safari vehicles circling in the desert.

An example of the desert terrain for the safari, which we tried last year. The sand here is orange, and lots of awesome sand patterns can be seen.

For other Hot, Loud and Proud posts please visit Noel's site.


  1. Andrea,

    Very cool milkweeds, thanks for sharing. I can think of maybe 10 different milkweeds here in the US, sure there is a lot more than 10.

  2. Your desert photos are awesome.

  3. So did you go to Dubai? When I think that part of the world I think of my time in Iraq and Saudi. Yikes on the dusty and dirty desert. But the plants that hold the soil are hardy souls indeed.

    That co-poster of mine is one sweetheart indeed. So glad you like the seeds and I hope they do well for you. Hugs to you for being so kind!

  4. Andrea, these tiny blooms of the Milkweed are lovely!Enjoyed going through the desert shots.

  5. The desert looks nice though. I hope it wasn't too hot and dry.

    Love this flower... looks like a succulent flower. The purple one is really gorgeous! All nice shots Andrea :-D

  6. Those flowers are amazing, wouldn't mind being in the desert right now, Its freezing over here in Ireland!

  7. Whoa Andrea! Desert safari sounds so exciting n Must have been so much Fun. Never thought such floral beauties could flourish in the Desert. Lovely pic!

  8. A desert safari is so exotic. As much as I enjoyed the milkweed photos I marveled at the sand dunes.

  9. Wow, beautiful photos. Even though the flower is so exotic looking you see its milkweed characteristics. Love the desert shots. Carolyn

  10. You manage to bring beauty in the simplest of flowers. Those that you feature here are very sweet and pretty. Looking at the sand dunes, I'd really like to slide down the smooth, fine sand. It also reminds me of those romance novels where the heroine get carried away on horseback by the hero, hehehe!

  11. Again thank you everyone for visiting and spending your precious time with me.

    Randy ~~ there are some more milkweeds here too, but not as many as in the US, that's why the monarchs are there. We also have Danaus here but diff species.

    gardenwalkgardentalk ~~ i am glad you like my desert photos, thanks.

    Tina ~~ yes i've been to Dubai for only 2.5 days on my way back here. I didn't know you were in Iraq and Saudi, but why? What did you do there? Thanks for your kind words too.

    kanak~~thank you too.

    Stephanie~~it was dry when we were there, but not very hot. The desert safari was like a roller coaster ride.

    Stoneart~~yes i read it is freezing already in Ireland and Scotland. I pity those beautiful plants and flowers. Maybe you should come over to the tropics during those times.

    Ever Green Tree~~i was also stunned in seeing flowering plants there, thought only some small grasses thrive there. Yes desert safari is such fun, would like to do it again if time permits.

    lifeshighway~~it is your first visit here, i hope you will not get bored dropping by. Thank you.

    Carolyn~~i love your posts too. thank you for appreciating my post.

    Autumn Belle~~you are so kind, and yes the desert is inviting us to slide down. And the very find orange sand feels nice on the fingers. In fact our 2 kids with us had fun playing with it.

  12. That's a cool looking milkweed. I can't quite figure it out. Is it the milkweed or is it the photography that makes it look this beautiful. Neither! It must be the photographer. :) I wouldn't consider sliding down those sand. It looks a whole lot scarier than millipedes. I wished you had focused on that exotic red spider as well.

  13. aloha andrea,

    very interesting post, i'm amazed by this milkweed growing on desert sands

  14. Beautiful flowers, Andrea. At this time of year here, when Winter is coming and there are very few flowers around, it's great to see some gorgeous colors. Thanks so much for sharing.

  15. Beautiful flower but I am impressed by the desert.

  16. Those flowers look almost too good to be true. And isn't it amazing that something as robust and hardy as the Calotropis Gigantea can find time to have such beautiful flowers? I suppose that in that sort of arid environment it has to go to great lengths to attract any available pollinating insects?

  17. Wow! Fascinating views of that part of the world! Enjoyed your photography, as usual. And great shots of the giant milkweeds. They have such beautiful details.

  18. I haven't seen a milkweed quite like that before, very pretty! Here, they play host to monarch butterflies but your ecosystem looks much different than mine.

  19. One~~you've been so kind with your comment. I start to believe my photos are beautiful, hehe. Do you really think sliding in the desert is more scary than millipedes! Oh i prefer the desert. On focusing with the red spider, actually i just saw it on playback. We just stayed for a few minutes outside the car in the desert to appreciate and feel its ambiance, and we were in a hurry to be in time for the Arab Big Tent where dinner with bellydancing is part of the package. If we will be late, the better places will be taken. It was fun in that atmosphere, actually beautiful.

  20. Noel ~~ yes, C gigantea is a survivor in these conditions. I just wonder what happens to it in rainy climates.

    Betsy ~~ I will make sure those from the winter climes will see much colors from our part of the world, while they are hibernating in snow, hehe.

    Ellada ~~ yes that orange desert is really impressive, maybe that's the reason they make money from Desert Safaris.

    Mark Willis ~~ nature really provided complimentary insects for them to thrive. Maybe they flower more in that condition to make time for insects to insure pollination. But i think butterflies are not one of them in the desert.

    Floridagirl ~~ thanks for the appreciation of my photos.

    Eliza ~~ yes, there's a lot of milkweed species. More species are found in the US maybe than in the Philippines. I dont know in Dubai, UAE. In the Philippines, we have a different species of monarch, unlike that famous migrating type in the US and Mexico.

  21. Hi Andrea,
    I didn't realize there were milkweeds that look like those. I love those blooms!

    Your sand photos remind me of my aunt's and uncle's slide show of a vacation when I was a girl. One of the photos showed something that I thought was sand like in your desert. When we went to the Sandhills of Nebraska, I was disappointed, because there were just bits of sand here and there, and it wasn't huge piles of sand like I thought there would be. I can't imagine trying to get around in that place!

    You asked about the wider leafed herb in my post. It's sage.

  22. The milkweed look so elegant with those pink flowers.
    I had once tried growing it but it became leggy and finally died without any flowers.
    Guess they don't do so well in the tropics.
    surprised that they do grow in the desert regions.

  23. Love the milkweeds adorable star-shaped flowers. They sure are hardy, able to grow in the desert.

  24. What a fascinating post. Photos of flowers I've never heard of, landscapes I've never seen. Thank you. Love the close ups of the purple flowers.

  25. The Milkweeds are just lovely ... they're a new plant for me. I do so love the colour of that purple one.

    Those dunes are impressive ... they are enormous! The cars look like the size of ants against those dunes.


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