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Vampires

When I was a young fella, anytime someone mentioned the name Vampire, we immediately thought of the actor Bella Lagosi, a Hungarian-American actor, famous for portraying Count Dracula in the original 1931 film and for his roles in various other horror films, or the 60's TV soap “Dark shadows”. These characters were normally played as dark and evil and dressed up in a cape with lots of make up on, long finger nails and blood dripping from his canine teeth! By now, you have probably guessed my generation.

From my introductory paragraph, you would think the main topic of this article would be about Vampires, but its not. Its about some strange flowers I happen to come across which just happen to have a vampire connection. One is named, The Vampire Orchid! The other two are the Bat Flower and the Bleeding Tooth Flower. All three have something in common with the Vampire.

 

Well today, a younger generation and the world sees vampires in a very different way than earlier ones. Hollywood has romantisized the vampires, both male and female, made them handsome, beautiful and sexy! That is a far cry from what the original perception was! There is even a toy line of vampires dolls called “Monster High”!

The wikipedia defines the Vampire as “Vampire is a mythical being who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures. In folkloric tales, undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive.

Draculaar OrchidThe Dracula Vampire Orchid, The Bat Flowers and the Bleeding Tooth Mushroom

Did you know there is actually a flower name the Dracula Vampire Orchid! The orchid has large distinctive flowers; the sepals are rounded with the top corner pulled into a thin tail, which may extend up to 11 cm in length. Although green in color, the sepals are covered by numerous blackish purple veins and the tails are almost completely black. The large sepals dwarf the petals and lip of the flower, which are white in color and marked with purple and pinkish veins respectively. Dracula Vampira is a large epiphyte, meaning that it does not grow in soil, it has many stems; the erect leaves are between 15 and 28 cm long. The generic name of this species - Dracula means little dragon, named due to the exotic flower shape.

Dracula vampira is endemic to Ecuador in South America being found only on the slopes of Mount Pichincha.It is found between 1900 and 2200 metres above sea level (6200 – 7300 ft.), where it is fairly locally abundant.

The Bat Flower

The Black bat flower, Tacca chantrieri, is a species of flowering plant in the yam family Dioscoreaceae.The Black baqt Flower Tacca chantrieri is an unusual plant in that it has black flowers. These flowers are somewhat bat-shaped, are up to 12 inches across, and have long 'whiskers' that can grow up to 28 inches. There are ten species in the genus Tacca. One of these, T. integrifolia, is commonly called the "white bat plant." T. integrifolia is similar to T. chantrieri, but has white bracts which are veined purple. T. integrifolia is larger than T. chantrieri, reaching up to four feet in height (almost twice the size of T. chantrieri at a height of 24"-36").

Tacca chantrierei is native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China: particularly Yunnan Province. They are understory plants, so they prefer shade (at least 60%). They grow best in well-drained soil with good air circulation, but they prefer high humidity, and need a lot of water. They are hardy to USDA zones 11, above 4.5 °C (40 °F).

The Bleeding tooth flowerAnd finally, The Bleeding Tooth Flower

Hydnellum peckii is an inedible (though not toxic) fungus, and a member of the genus Hydnellum of the family Bankeraceae. It is a hydnoid species, producing spores on the surface of vertical spines or tooth-like projections that hang from the undersurface of the fruit bodies.  It is found in North America, Europe, and was recently discovered in Iran (2008) and Korea (2010). Hydnellum peckii is a mycorrhizal species, and forms mutually beneficial relationships with a variety of coniferous trees, growing on the ground singly, scattered, or in fused masses.

The fruit bodies typically have a funnel-shaped cap with a white edge, although the shape can be highly variable. Young, moist fruit bodies can "bleed" a bright red fluid that contains a pigment known to have anticoagulant properties similar to heparin. The unusual appearance of the young fruit bodies has earned the species several descriptive common names, including strawberries and cream, the bleeding Hydnellum, the bleeding tooth fungus, the red-juice tooth, and the Devil's tooth. Although Hydnellum peckii fruit bodies are readily identifiable when young, they become brown and nondescript when they age.

Although the fruit bodies of H. peckii have been described as resembling "Danish pastry topped with strawberry jam", and Hydnellum species in general are not known to be poisonous, they are inedible due to their extremely bitter taste.This acridity persists even in dried specimens.

The fruit bodies of this and other Hydnellum species are prized by mushroom dyers.The colors may range from beige when no mordant is used, to various shades of blue or green depending on the mordant added.

And there you have I, just in case you are wanting to decorate your apartment or home in a Vampire motiff, you know which plants you can use to get that goolish vampire look!

Some Technical Information furnished by Wikipedia


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