You're probably curious about the title for this post, but that's what came to mind as I took the pictures I'm sharing today.
The "beauty" is an elegant wildflower called Queen Anne's Lace, and this time of year it can be found gracing our Mississippi roads, from the hill country of North Mississippi, to the flat coastal highways of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
I recently went in search of Queen Anne's Lace in hopes of capturing some new pictures for my collection. I wasn't disappointed ...
There were patches of it growing everywhere along the country roads surrounding Vicksburg, and I was in my glory as I stopped to get close up shots of the lacy flower heads on top of the long graceful stems swaying gently in the breeze.
Think about that for a minute. Isn't that awesome!
This next flower reminds me of a pinwheel, and I wish I had gotten a better picture of it. I wonder what the odds are of my finding it again. Probably better than the odds were of my winning the Mega Millions lottery.
The little purple "heart" of this flower reminds me of a little butterfly floating deep within its center.
I'm so glad I captured my pictures before the big mowers begin their mowing season. There were wildflowers everywhere, and I love the red clover mixed in and amongst them.
I hope you will forgive me for getting so carried away with the "beauty" part of my story. I love Queen Anne's Lace, and get only one chance a year to capture and preserve a little of its beauty in my pictures.
As I explored the back roads, I was struck by the contrast between the elegant Queen Anne's Lace, and the prickly Thistle plants that were mixed in and amongst the patches of the graceful flowers.
At first glance, thistle is not an attractive plant, and its "spines," or "thorns," or "prickles," are lethal.
I researched thistles while writing this post to find out what the "thorns" are called, and found the following information: "Thistles are non-woody plants that are outfitted with prickles, one of the three different kinds of plant armor recognized by botanists. Thorns are modified branches. Spines are modified leaves." [Source: Thistles]
Whatever you want to call them, I found out from personal experience that they can be very painful (I was trying to shoo a bug away from a plant I was photographing and accidentally touched one of the needles).
But prickles or not, if you will look a little closer, you will see that thistles have a beauty all their own.
I hope I have inspired you to slow down and take some time to get a closer look at some of the wildflowers growing along the roadsides where you live. They're there for such a short time, but the experience of seeing them up close and from a different perspective will stay with you for a very long time.