More Sandy Little Beauties

I couldn’t let the Phlox and Dwarf Dandelion go without the company of Drummond Sandwort. It’s another plant that loves the sand. It’s often found with with the other two, and the combination of purple, gold, and white is a Texas spring classic.

I learned this plant as Arenaria drummondii, though most recent treatments place it in the split-off genus Minuartia. It’s a member of the Caryophyllaceae or Pink Family, which is named for the notched or “pinked” petals that many members have. (Think of carnations, the original “pinks.”) Other common features are opposite leaves with rather swollen nodes, petals and stamens in multiples of five, and a three-parted ovary.

I have vivid memories of collecting the flowers and fruit of this plant for students to dissect, hundreds at a time. The flower buds and the developing fruits both nod and they look much alike with the calyx around them, so I would have to feel each hanging down bit and roll it between my fingers to see if it were plump or not. Plump–it’s a fruit, and into the jar of alcohol it goes. Not? It’s a flower bud, and it stays on the plant. I can remember exactly how it feels. The sepals have sticky hairs, and I remember how those feel too.

Here’s my pencil sketch. I got the leaves right, and the branching pattern (cymose, with the oldest flower in the middle and the younger ones to the side and below), but the flowers themselves weren’t quite right, and I couldn’t put my finger on why.

I looked at dozens and dozens of photos and it finally dawned on me that I’d drawn the petals more separate than they are. They usually lie more closely together. I corrected that somewhat in the charted design:

I will confess to taking some liberties with the fruits. They don’t actually hang out quite like that, but again, they’d otherwise look a lot like the buds, which I have drawn just ready to bloom, with the petals emerging.

True to form, my charting program didn’t quite give me the colors I need. This design calls for two of DMC’s newer colors, which it doesn’t have, but I did get a chart out of it that I’m happy with.

I’d put an image of the color-block chart here, except that the white flowers just disappear into the white background, so that’s pretty useless.

Flannel Cat has a definite opinion about what the charts are good for.

Here is how the design would look on taupe, again keeping in mind that the green in the middles of the blossoms will be much paler–and the backstitch stems and the anthers will actually show up.

And look at it on black!

I promise, this looks better full size on your computer , where you can see the stems, and the background doesn’t look plaid.

I think I like this! If I saw this stitched up, I could certainly identify it, so it’s a keeper in my book!


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