Mainly West of Queen Street - seen through my lens

Freak of Nature

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. Limar

    Wow, amazing! And beautiful 🙂

  2. Julie

    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.

  3. Hilda

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

  4. Stephen

    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:

  5. joan

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

  6. birdman

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

  7. Dragonstar

    That’s like a clever sculpture. Fine photo.

  8. JM

    This looks so unreal. Fantastic find and captures!

  9. pk

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

  10. Dimple

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

  11. ruimnm

    Just Amazing!

  12. Babzy

    excellent image , nature is so Arty !!

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