Graveyard of Aphids

Thumbnail: Flowering cabbage

At some point, the flow­er­ing cab­bage plant Heather G gave me start­ed to shed. The top leaves remained sup­ple and fresh, while the bot­tom leaves would dry up and fall off. I could­n’t fig­ure out why. I liked the look any­way, to see this plant grow­ing out of the decay it cast around itself, so I did­n’t wor­ry too much.

I was­n’t used to hav­ing a plant that was so alive. It had a pun­gent smell, and I noticed a few insects on it here and there. I thought the insects were a good thing, cause that meant the plant was healthy enough to sup­port oth­er life.

Thumbnail: Water drop on leaf

When I watered the plant, I noticed the water would bead on the dead leaves, as if it refused to accept life in it again.

Thumbnail: Aphids on leaf

One day, the main trunk wilt­ed and bent over. It com­plete­ly col­lapsed and would­n’t stand upright again.

It turns out the insects were aphids. They start­ed out as maybe a half dozen I could see walk­ing around on the leaves. I tried to change loca­tions, alter the amount of sun­light, and use a dif­fer­ent water source, but noth­ing would resus­ci­tate the fall­en plant.

So I decid­ed to leave it for a few weeks.

Thumbnail: Aphids on glass

Then the aphids died off too. I won­der if it was because they can­ni­bal­ized the plant, or because I was­n’t able to keep the plant alive, with them los­ing their pri­ma­ry food source in either case.

Thumbnail: Aphids on leaf cropped

Eventually, there was a mass grave­yard of tiny aphid bod­ies around the plant, along with what may have been their drop­pings, their eggs, or both.

Thumbnail: Single aphid

Aphids are usu­al­ly a pale yel­low-green. But I dis­cov­ered that when they die, they lose their colour­ings, as if the pig­ment in their bod­ies fade when the souls leave these hol­lowed shells.


  1. Fascinating pic­tures — you’ve turned some­thing most peo­ple would find dis­gust­ing into some­thing real­ly quite beau­ti­ful.

    • It’s fun­ny you say that, because I do find the entire con­cept dis­gust­ing. I pur­pose­ly did­n’t look at the pic­tures to see if they came out the way I want­ed, because I knew it would gross me out too much. So after I took the pic­tures, I cleaned every­thing right away and threw out the plant, and then I went to look at the pic­tures.

  2. ew ew ew!

    Also I’m sad for the plant.

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