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  • Writer's picturepoetryzest

Looking for the light and the tree that walks

Just had a medical interlude, and back home from hospital nursing a few stitches, a friend kindly gave me a house plant. It is Oxalis Triangularis, a kind of shamrock otherwise known as a 'Love Plant'.

I have watched it for the last few days and wondered... deliriums... or is that plant moving?

But it seems Oxalis Triangularis is a plant known for its ability to move! Its delicate purple leaves, shaped like butterfly wings, dropping and rising, opening and turning - all in response to both the quantity of light and the colour waves of daylight signaling dusk and dawn.

Since I recently wrote about a tree that walked in my latest children's collection 'Belonging Street', I have become increasingly interested in how - with focused noticing - you can learn how plants move. Over the years at my allotment, plants regularly self-seed, and I let them; figuring that beyond human plans for veg-beds and neat rows, the plant is committing to a multi-generational journey in the search for a spot that suits them best. In the case of chard or broccoli it is one step per season, with dandelions it is a bigger leap, aided by the wind. But for the Oxalis, this daily dance to seek light, is clearly observable. If you click on the plant below, you can watch it dance in this amazing time-lapse video.

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