Time capsule


Rhoe spathacea, also known as Moses in the Cradle




When did you last look closely at a plant?


I mean really examined it – made a purposeful, detailed inspection. Some plants invite this kind of regard. They stand out from the crowd because they’re special, spectacular or unusual. Others are more ubiquitous, common place, quietly going about their ‘plant-erly’ lives under our radar.

One such plant in the latter category is the Rhoeo, also called Moses in the Cradle. It’s a native of Belize, Guatemala , and southern Mexico

Look closely and the inspiration for the name becomes clear. Tiny white flowers peep out from a cradle-like bud beneath spiky green leaves underlined in deep purple. Highly toxic to dogs, Moses in the Cradle is nevertheless a favourite in my area as a street-scaping plant. It’s mostly used for mass planting, fitting the criteria for colour, hardiness, and the current landscaping fashion for structural shapes, in both public and private spaces.


Mass-planting of dwarf form of Moses in the Cradle

One day recently I took the time to look closely at the Rhoeo, to contemplate its ‘metaphor factor’ a quality I constantly seek in everything. I thought about how apt the common name was – Moses in the Cradle – which began a whole train of thought for me about the potential that lies within. This small shrub encapsulates its past, its present and its future; and all of this at the same time in this little plant. The past is represented in its genetic expression, the present in its current form and the future in its tiny seeds.

The hidden treasures that lie within a plant, its flowers, its seeds, may be thought of as its potential; this led me to contemplate human potential.

Each one of us has the ‘seeds’ within to be great in whatever form that takes, however we may define ‘great’. Just as the plant holds with in it, its past, its present, and its future (and here is the part I find fascinating – these notional time frames are held simultaneously), I believe so too, do we humans. Memory represents our past, consciousness our present, and hopes, expectations, dreams our future, even at a cellular level.

I don’t meant these aspects of our life span progression are not played out in a linear way in the usual sense we have of time, but rather are encapsulated within the concept of ‘potential’, existing contemporaneously in our consciousness. Each interacts with the other depending on context.

I look back to draw confidence from past achievements to bolster my confidence for accomplishing future goals and I experience this process in the present.

Are we all not time travellers then? Traversing our past, our present and future to harvest our potential.

How do you think about your potential?

IMG_3258Popular park trees, full of potential. Notice the ‘Thong discardus’ litter on the ground beneath. (Thongs are also known as flip flops in some places).

22 responses to “Time capsule

  1. thanks for the explanation of THONG – as you are aware here in th UK we call them flip flops. Thongs are very very brief panties sometimes referred to as cheese cutters LOL.

    you are so correct – we have seeds of greatness within each of us but we have to understand that we have to strive to achieve, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. Hard work is involved . Love seeing these new to me plants

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Brenda. You’re right about the panties. We call them thongs too. Darned uncomfortable I reckon but my daughters wear them.
      Glad you like the rhoeos. Strange little plants.
      And yes, hard work is always required to achieve anything worthwhile.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the first example of ‘thong discardus’ I’ve seen in the wild. More commonly, I’ve noticed domestic examples…around doorways mostly – so it’s wonderful to see how they propagate in the wild. It just goes to show… relying on the past can be so limiting 🙂

    NOW… I think it’s time for me to create my future.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Rhoeo does seem a good bet for metaphors. I like the idea of it containing it’s past, present and future at the same time. If the BBC find out about it, perhaps they could hire it as their next Doctor Who.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I photograph a flower, I get in very close to see what has not been apparent at first glance. This plant is beautiful and filled with meaning. There is a plant called The Passion Flower and its parts signify aspects in the passion of Christ. I’ll have to look it up to get the details correct, but maybe you know of it? Thanks Robyn, this was a welcome sight during our New England winter. Clare
    PS There is absolutely no potential for me to look good in a thong, so I’ll just discard the thought altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clare I’m familiar with the passionflower but was unaware of the symbolism behind the name. How interesting. Thanks for info. I’ll look it up.
      I know it’s been a difficult winter with some bad storms for you over there. I’d hoped you were staying safe.
      As for the thong, I shake my head at the thought of it. Even fifty years younger I doubt I’d have subjected myself to the indignity. But then we all did some weird things in the name of fashion. 😯

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Concerning the ‘metaphor factor’ : it boggles the mind just imagining that unlike ‘moses in a cradle’ the three phases might not be linear… What if our memories are actually dreams or vice versa. Your posts always tweak my imagination…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your blog is abundance of flowers and I love the posts… We used to have Moses in the cradle at our home garden too but now we don’t ave them, I wonder why, got to ask my parents… They look so beautiful grown, here their leaves burn down in summer and the plant becomes very sad :/

    Love your post. It reminded me of my childhood garden…

    Liked by 1 person

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