Have you ever seen the beautiful skeleton flower?
The white-petal woodland blossom is simply magical! On a rainy day, its feather-light and cotton-white petals turn glassy translucent, as though they are exposing an inner skeleton.
These flowers, Diphylleia grayi, are found on only three locations around the world, China, Japan, and the Appalachian Mountains.
They grow in moist and cold climates, and can be of three species of the genus, Diphylleia cymosa in the Appalachians, Diphylleia Sinensis in Japan and Diphylleia grayi in China.
These plants are also known as “Umbrella plants” as they form clumps of big, green, umbrella-like leaves. The skeleton flowers cluster on top with the white petals, dotted with green and yellow centers.
When wet, they turn translucent as a result of their loose cell structure. The water droplets stick to the exposed veiny structure, filling up the lattices and lead to an increased light reflection. The flower then becomes entirely translucent.
Yet, when the flower dries again, its white color returns and the pigment has not been washed out.
Eventually, after they have been pollinated, in early autumn, the reddish seed stalks develop clusters of bright blue berries.
You can plant these flowers at home if you live in a cool climate. They need partial or complete shade and require low maintenance. The perennial plant thrives well in well-drained, moist soil rich in organic matter.
It also does well when it is layered beneath medium- to large-size trees that drop their leaves and thus provide additional organic matter for the soil.
During winter, add a layer of mulch on top, and reduce the watering, and before the spring, cut back dead leaves to stimulate the new bloom and add organic fertilizer.
Many people have recently learned about the spectacular flower, and they were all thrilled to see the magic it creates!