Balloon plant milkweed (Gomphocarpus physocarpus) is in the family of African Milkweeds. It goes by many evocative names: Balloon Cotton-Bush, Nailhead, Gooseplant, Oscar Milkweed, Family Jewels, and Bishop's Balls. Not easily mistaken for anything else, the balloon plant is characterized by its dangling, airy, almost hollow orbs, which when opened reveal a core of seeds. It is quite favored as a host for butterflies, especially Monarchs.
I find it to be stunningly beautiful, unique, and ever so fascinating!
It was also with Hannah that I first visited Karua Forest (just across the road from Sigiria Forest). She was recently back in Kenya for a short visit and stayed at my house, using her old bed which she had given to me before leaving.
And so it seemed fitting that we go to the forest again for another adventure.
I can remember doing the same thing as a child, with the milkweed pods of Omaha, Nebraska. Truly God knows my heart and my enjoyment of simple pleasures... even now as an adult!
December, January, and February are Kenya's hot, dry, dusty, summer months. Notice the warning for potential fires as we enter the forest.
On our way back home, our bus driver decided to take a 'panya' route because of a traffic jam - a typical reaction. However, it rarely saves any time and basically only frustrates we passengers.
He drove through various alleyways causing us to rock back and forth and side-to-side. It was a bumpy, irritating, and dusty route during which Hannah and I estimate we actually added 10-15 minutes to our trip as opposed to shortening it!
Watch this brief video of one section of our ride -