Saturday, April 06, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: Diamorpha in bloom

Diamorpha in bloom

In late winter and early spring, tiny red diamorpha succulents grow white blossoms atop Arabia Mountain, a 955-foot high granitic monadnock in southeastern DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 27 March 2024.

Also called elf orpine, diamorpha —a rare plant endemic to the southeast United States— appears, during during winter and spring, as a vibrant red covering patches of Arabia Mountain in shallow solution pit pools. In March and early April, the diamorpha flowers, growing delicate white blooms. The blooms do not last long – they will soon begin to fade as the diamorpha prepare for the hot summer months.

Diamorpha are dormant in the summer due to the extreme heat of the bare rock face. During the warmer parts of the year, these hardy plants look like little more than brown twigs sticking up out of patches of soil on the monadnock. This stage of the diamorphas’ life cycle is critical: during the summer, they hold their seeds above the ground, conserving energy until the fall (seeds that fall to the ground in summer burn and die in the hot sun). Then, in the autumn, the seeds drop to the ground and begin to germinate. The process starts again around December. Now, in April, this complicated life story is at its most vibrant stage.
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

This photo is a 'macro' closeup. The diamorpha, at most 2 inches tall, appear much larger in the image than they did in 'real' life.


  • Águas de março (The Waters of March)
    — song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim (1927–1994)
    lyrics, Brazilian and English, by Jobim.

    A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road
    It's the rest of a stump, it's a little alone
    It's a sliver of glass, it is life, it's the sun
    It is night, it is death, it's a trap, it's a gun

    The oak when it blooms, a fox in the brush
    A knot in the wood, the song of a thrush
    The wood of the wind, a cliff, a fall
    A scratch, a lump, it is nothing at all


    A stick, a stone, the end of the road
    The rest of a stump, a lonesome road
    A sliver of glass, a life, the sun
    A knife, a death, the end of the run
    And the river bank talks of the waters of March
    It's the end of all strain, it's the joy in your heart.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of images posted on Saturdays.
  • Photo 14 of 52, for year 2024. See a hi-res version on Flickr: here.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 II.
    • Lens: Olympus M.40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R
    • Settings: 45 mm | 1/400 sec | ISO 1600 | ƒ/4.1
      — Macro extension tube: 16 mm

  • For more from YFGF:

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