the scan artist

Paul Morganthall

hoya carnosa flowers

A friend gave me a Hindu Rope plant years ago. I enjoyed the way it looked, and the unique way new leaves grew. One of the leaves would grow a greyish-brown extension, looking very much like dead plant. Eventually the twig would unfurl and green into a beautiful new leaf.

The plant grew nicely for years, then died. I didn’t see any bugs and I watered it appropriately. It just died. Before it passed on, I took a clipping of the greenest part of the plant, and set it to root in a coffee mug. I’ve put a lot of clippings in mugs over the years, but I can’t remember ever planting any of them in dirt. I think some of them were there when we moved into the house. Eighteen years ago. I do add water to the mugs every week. When I remember.

One day (after a couple of years) I noticed that an alien had landed in the coffee cup. That really was my first thought. Upon closer examination, the alien was growing out of the twig end of the Hindu Rope. A globe shaped collection of tiny pink pods. It wasn’t an alien, but it did have alien heritage.

Over the next couple of weeks, the pods opened into beautiful tiny pink flowers. Maybe they weren’t alien. Maybe it was more like a plea.

Please sir, may I have some dirt?

This flowering has happened three time now. You think I’d get the message. But if I put the plant in dirt, will it ever flower again?

Maybe we could compromise. First I’ll nurse the plant back to health. Once it has enough to share, I’ll snip off a few sprigs for flowering.

This week’s Thing is the story of my Hindu Rope plant in words and pictures.