Friday 21 September 2012

Sea Tulip

Image: richard ling via Flickr
Pyura spinifera
The Sea Tulip. Quite unlike actual tulips.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
I really have no idea how this thing got its name.

Image: Saspotato via Flickr
Looks like a burst gas pipe
Actual tulips are flowers that have been cultivated into so many varieties that there's probably one to suit every personality and every mood. For a while they were considered pretty enough to sell your house for, but they quickly dropped to the price of an onion, which I suspect made people cry a lot more than would an actual onion.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
That was the old days, when speculative bubbles came in attractive colours and sweet scents. Even today, ridiculous numbers of tulips render parts of the Netherlands into an obscene assault on the eyes, with all the eye-melting colour of children's television.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
Sea Tulips... they assault the eyes in a different way.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
There will be no speculative bubbles for the Sea Tulip. It looks like an entire sack of onions, but I'll eat a hat of my choosing if it ever costs more than a single onion.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
The weird thing is that it's actually a tunicate, a Sea Squirt, in fact. Like the rest of them, it takes in water and filters out tiny food to eat. On its surface grows a Sponge, which provides the Sea Tulip with a wide variety of colours.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
They reach over 30 cm (1 foot) tall and live near the surface of the ocean. Australia and New Zealand seem to be the best places to go if you want to frolic among the knobbly clubs.

Image: richard ling via Flickr
Maybe someone got sold some horribly diseased tulips and thought they all look like this?


TexWisGirl said...

ooh. really cool! like all the range of colors!

FaustXIII said...

fried chicken legs in twisted flavors

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: The colours are amazing! So strange to see collections of them in all different colours.

@FaustXIII: Yes! Sugar-coated fried chicken!