Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Desert Blooms in Appalachia

Unusual Flower

About a week ago I was coming around the side of the house when a splash of color caught my eye.

We have a covered porch along one side of our house, underneath the porch is a long flower bed which contains mostly hostas. There are a few varying colors of astilbes sprinkled in along with a few geraniums and lenten roses. So not the most colorful bed you’ve ever seen, that’s why the splash of color caught my eye.

I went over to investigate and was surprised to find the flower in the photo above. I thought “What in the world is that?” I knew I hadn’t planted anything new in the area, and truthfully the hostas have grown so large over the years that I can’t believe anything could find enough sunlight to grow through their massive green leaves.

Since we were all outside working I got everyone to come look at the beautiful flower. None of them had a clue where it came from either.

As I went about my way the thought of the flower kept bugging me. There was no doubt in my mind that it was beautiful but how in the world did it get there. Hmph I thought it must have been a bird is all I know.

Once I got back to work in the garden I realized the flower reminded me of something, but wasn’t sure what it was. A little while later it hit me—it reminded me of a small blooming cactus Chatter had sitting on the porch railing last summer.

I ran back and examined the flower closer and noticed the stem had spikes similar to the ones that can be found on a cactus. I called the girls back to the flower and said “I figured out the only reasonable explanation for it being here. A seed fell off that cactus Chatter had last summer and this is what grew from it. Maybe it was a hybrid plant and the seed reverted back to this leggy specimen or maybe it grew so long and leggy because it was reaching for the sun.”

A short time after we noticed the flower every petal fell off of it. Chitter had been keeping an eye on it and she said “Momma you won’t believe it but that flower it’s totally gone all the petals fell off at once.” I said “Well it sure was pretty while it lasted.” In a couple of days Chitter noticed a brand new bloom on the flower. Like the first one the bloom seemed to spring forth from the ground overnight.

I’m almost positive the flower came from Chatter’s cactus, but however the beauty showed up under my porch I’m glad it did.


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  • Reply
    Rene Edwards
    June 17, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    It’s a poppy flower. It should produce a seed pod for you which will contain hundreds of little black poppy seed. Hopefully one sweet surprise will bring many more to come.

  • Reply
    Sue simmons Ritchie
    June 17, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Tipper, that is a poppy flower ,its beautiful . I plant some every year because the bloom is so beautiful. You will probably have some come up every year .

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 16, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    That looks like an opium poppy flower to me. I’ll betcha somebody in the neighborhood is manufacturing illicit drugs. That or they fell off somebodies hamburger bun.
    Just kidding! I don’t know the first think about flowers.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Poppy seeds are often used in bird seed, in which case they are usually called maw seeds. They are a favorite of sparrows so I think maybe your flower is a beautiful gift from the birds. If you don’t feed the birds in winter, maybe one of your neighbors does. My grandmaw always called unexpected flowers “God planted flars”. Lucky you.

  • Reply
    Kevin Knight
    June 16, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Tipper, I am easily confused, is it Chitter or Chatter? Thanks for a reply!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      Kevin-Its Chatter and Chitter 🙂 There are two girls-twins 🙂 My niece named them Chatter and Chitter when they were young because they talked so much!

  • Reply
    Sherry Thacker
    June 16, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    That flower is a poppy. They used to grow wild in Grannys garden. Look at the seed pod and goole poppy . I used to use the seed pods for pepper shaaaaaaaaaaaaakers when playing with mud pies as a kid.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    It looks like a poppy to me too. Shake the seed pod out when it’s dry. The seedlings look like lettuce in the early spring.
    But it’s still a mystery where the poppy seed came from!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2021 at 11:09 am

    I don’t recognize it, but the color and the flower are beautiful!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 16, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Tipper–As a bunch of folks have suggested, it looks like a variety of poppy. Also, poppy stems are sort of “hairy” so that suggests this is the case to an even greater degree. If that’s the case there will be plenty of self-seeding.

    I’m about as woefully ignorant as anyone can be when it comes to technology, but I’m surprised you don’t have one of those apps which you can install in your phone, take a photo, and get back almost instantaneous plant identification. I got a splendid display of this when I friend was visiting and asked me what a plant with abundant red flowers was. I told here I didn’t have a clue although the people from whom we bought the property called it a bleeding heart. I knew that wasn’t the case but her photo and the app said it was a wax mallow. I followed up with some digging and there’s no doubt that was exactly what it was.

    If Matt, Ms. Cindy, or the twins happen to read this, I’ve given you an idea for a birthday present or Christmas gift.

    Jim Casada

    P. S. While playing the gift guide, the new version of the Joe Hall/Michael Montgomery book, “Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English,” is now out. It’s frightfully expensive (somewhere around $170) but it is a monumental tome of 1200+ pages. Your name is mentioned in the Acknowledgments and the Blind Pig blog appears in the bibliography accompanying the work. Jennifer Heinmiller did a find job in the updated and much expanded version.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 16, 2021 at 9:45 am

    It definitely looks like the shaggy variety of poppy. Beautiful!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2021 at 9:33 am

    Hopefully you will keep getting to enjoy it every yr. It sure is bright and pretty.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2021 at 9:10 am

    When I saw the picture I immediately thought oh an Oriental Poppy then I read your post. I still think it is an Oriental Poppy from the flower and the seed pod, and how sweet that one was sown sort of under your porch. I love, love flowers so I can appreciate how you immediately noticed that bright little flower.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2021 at 8:51 am

    It’s beautiful regardless of how it got there. If we are lucky, we will be commenting on a whole flowerbed full of those pretty red flowers next year. It’s hard to guess which of you three girls saved the seeds.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    June 16, 2021 at 8:31 am

    I’m almost certain you’ve got a wild poppy growing. The black seed in center and the unopened pod give it away. How wonderfully rare and exotic this side of Afghanistan….I’m glad you have it and save the seed. Be the poppy lady spreading about poppy. The thing is poppy is easy to rot and pick up disease. I’d say the seed has been there or came in a seed packet (probably from those whacky hippie seed folks in Asheville who I’m not convinced are not witches.) lol

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    June 16, 2021 at 8:27 am

    We had a couple of watermelon vines come up in Mom’s flower bed next to the front porch one year, where we kids would stand and spit seeds out.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 16, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Surprises in the garden are always such a pleasure and they happen more that you would think. My answer has always been the birds did it.

  • Reply
    Jeanne Ferreira
    June 16, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Ma’am, that is a red ornamental poppy . If you cut that seed pod and let it dry out you can shake out tiny black seeds and plant more poppies next year.
    I love all your videos and your blog. I am a retired language teacher who loves accents like you do.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 16, 2021 at 8:15 am

    The surprise flowers are always nice to discover. Reminds me of the ‘naked ladies’ that run up a leafless flower stalk and put on a crown of red or pink lily flowers like an amaryllis.

    By the way, isn’t it about time the rose orchid (am I remembering correctly?) you discovered is also blooming?

    This morning the first shasta daisy opened here.

  • Reply
    Wanda Robertson
    June 16, 2021 at 8:10 am

    I think it is a poppy. They are easily sown by birds. Good for you to have such beauty without having to work for it!

  • Reply
    James W. Graham
    June 16, 2021 at 7:57 am

    Definitely looks like a poppy ….. especially the seed pod to the left of the flower.

  • Reply
    Pastor Lon
    June 16, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Wow! That’s an Awesome story, glad you figured it out that it most likely came from the cactus plant but no matter where the seed came from we know GOD gave the increase to bless you all with HIS BEAUTY to brighten your day and to remind us all that HE can show up anywhere at anytime because HE’S GOD!!!!!

    • Reply
      Rick Shepherd
      June 16, 2021 at 8:53 am

      True words in my Book…..Glory to God!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 16, 2021 at 7:03 am

    It’s beautiful and I love the mystery! Among the thick Hostas it must have adapted in order to be tall enough to get any light. A cactus is built to be hardy so it must be hardy enough to survive the cool mountains as well as the hot desert.

  • Reply
    Sandra Henderson
    June 16, 2021 at 6:32 am

    Looks like a poppy to me…at first glance. See if a seed pod dries.
    That’s cool!

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