Auckland – West                          Mainly West of Queen Street – seen through my lens

August 29, 2010

Freak of Nature

Filed under: Black and White,Plants — paul @ 7:03 am
Artful Contortions (Phormium Leaf)

Artful Contortions (Phormium Leaf)

For more black and white images check out Dragonstar’s Weekend in Black and White.

This is a leaf of a dwarf cultivar of NZ Flax (phormium tenax, probably ‘surfer’ or ‘elfin’). I found it in a clump of somewhat overgrown vegetation in our garden. Some of the leaves of that plant and several others were quite misshapen, but this one was the most extreme, and just beautiful. I think that the twists and twirls are the result of insect activity (maybe mites), interfering with the normal growth process. If anybody can shed more light on this, I would be very interested. (The whole curly part is about 3-4cm.)

An expert told me that this is an instance of fasciation — fascinating!

The images date back several years, and I have not seen much of this phenomenon in recent times. But I like the top picture a lot (it is a natural sepia toning anyway, so a good candidate for black and white), and the story is intriguing. Three more examples below.



  1. Wow, amazing! And beautiful 🙂

    Comment by Limar — August 29, 2010 @ 8:06 am

  2. Distressing for the plant – and probably for the gardener. But a terrific image in B&W. And I think it is more impressive in portrait than landscape. The shape is spot on as are the stripes.

    Comment by Julie — August 29, 2010 @ 8:37 am

  3. Fascinating, indeed. Good of you to notice them. Fabulous shots!

    Comment by Hilda — August 29, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  4. As you take some great photographs, you might be interested in a photo challenge each month on my blog.

    It’s called “5 on the fifth” – you either take 5 random pictures of something that happens to you on the 5th of September (or the days leading up to it) or perhaps go for my suggested theme. This month, the theme is The Blues.

    A link to past months can be found here:

    You add a comment on my blog on the 5th with your name, location and link where the pictures can be found.

    You can join the 5 on the fifth Facebook page too:

    Comment by Stephen — August 29, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  5. I love natural shapes like this … there is endless fascination in nature.

    Comment by joan — August 29, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  6. Love these natural shapes you’ve captured… so artistic.

    Comment by birdman — August 29, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

  7. That’s like a clever sculpture. Fine photo.

    Comment by Dragonstar — August 30, 2010 @ 5:49 am

  8. This looks so unreal. Fantastic find and captures!

    Comment by JM — September 3, 2010 @ 5:57 am

  9. For a moment I thought I was looking at a snake- interesting plant!

    Comment by pk — September 4, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  10. I thought this was a strip of gathered sewn tubing before reading your explanation. Even the “threads” of the “woven material” are there!

    Comment by Dimple — September 4, 2010 @ 7:02 am

  11. Just Amazing!

    Comment by ruimnm — September 5, 2010 @ 3:54 am

  12. excellent image , nature is so Arty !!

    Comment by Babzy — September 6, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

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