Monday, September 20, 2010

Balloon Vines

This is the last in a series of posts I've written recently featuring a photo shoot of some of the country roads around Vicksburg. I love taking my cameras and just riding around stopping to capture whatever happens to catch my attention.

This delicate vine was gracing a barbed wire fence running beside a frontage road of I-20, between Edwards and Vicksburg.

As I passed it, I did a double take and turned around and went back to get a closer look (you can click on the photos to enlarge them, if you'd like to get a closer look, too).

I'm so glad I went back, because this is what I saw ...

Before I wrote this post, I searched Google images to try to find out what the vine is called and discovered that it is called "Balloon Vine." The scientific name is Cardiospermum halicacabum.

Cardiospermum translates to "heart seed" (I will talk more about this later), and the funny name halicacabum is Greek for "salt barrel," referring to the round fruit. They are also called "heart pea" or "love-in-a-puff." In Mexico they are called "frolitos," which means "little lanterns," which is what I thought of when I first saw them up close — little Chinese lanterns blowing in the breeze.

I love the delicate little tendrils, curling and wrapping around the fence, reaching for everything in their path.

As if the little "balloon lanterns" and tendrils weren't enough to make me smile, just look at these tiny flowers that were almost hidden from sight amongst the vines ...

Aren't they just the sweetest kind of lagniappe!

But speaking of lagniappe — the best was yet to be! Remember the "heart seeds" that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well, at the time I photographed the vines, I had no idea that inside those pretty little "balloons" there are supposed to be three tiny black seeds with white hearts that look like they were painted on them. The "hearts" are actually the scar that is the point of attachment for the seed to the fruit. I wish I had known about the seeds when I first discovered the vines, but, unfortunately, I didn't know about them until I read the article I found through Google.

If you are a regular visitor to Southern Lagniappe, you know that I'm not going to just forget about those little heart seeds without seeing them for myself. Some of the little white flowers may be open now, too. I plan to go back later today to check them out, and will feature "the rest of the story" in tomorrow's post. I hope you will join me.

11 comments:

racheld said...

You know, I don't think I've EVER seen these charming little balloons! They are the stuff to capture the imagination, lending themselves to all sorts of games and p'tend and p'like voyages into fancy.

And of COURSE you won't give up. You're our Seeker, Janie, the ferreter-out of all things sweet and beautiful, and we're all the richer for it.

See you and your hearts tomorrow!!

Deb said...

very interesting...nice photos...

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

I love how you just search for info on items you capture, I admire your talent. I do believe my special favorite is the beautiful shadow shot on the last picture.
Molly

bj said...

O, Janie...you have SUCH a God given talent with that camera of yours.
These photos are just wonderful. You could publish a lovely book with all your photos...
And, I hope to see the seeds....:)

Susan said...

I don't think I have ever seen these vines before. It will be interesting to see the seeds.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

So interesting...very unusual plant!

Love your photos as usual Janie!

Janie said...

I will be here waiting for Tuesday's lagniappe. Very interesting...can hardly wait to hear about the hearts. You certainly have a heart of gold to give so much to us all. Blessings on you.

nanny said...

I wish I could see a vine like this....it is so unusual and very pretty!!!

Tonja said...

I learn so much from you, my friend! How interesting! Just growing out there on the highway! Wonder if people ever plant them in their yards, or are they a nuisance? What ever, they are filled with lovely!

Jenni said...

You always seem to show me things through your lens that I have either never seen before, or have never taken the time to look at closely.

The ballon vine is new to me.
Thanks for your Fab "Lagniappe Lens" that takes us to new places, adventures, and perspectives...

Amanah Pp. said...

i have this plant in bandung Indonesia ballon vine