Some flowers are quite strange, and some are not at all what they seem. So let's begin at the beginning. It seemed like a good idea when a shallow cement basin was discovered during an archeological dig in our garden to preserve the structure and convert it into a boggy habitat. This didn't go particularly well initially, but presently the current residents (marsh marigold, cardinal lobelia, bishop's weed) are doing fairly well if squirrels would leave things be. The toughest of these is the bishop's weed (Houttuynia cordata) which wouldn't be all that attractive if it were not for cultivars with varigated leaves. This is easy to grow in wettish areas making quite a nice ground cover, and in fact having it confined in concrete isn't such a bad idea. At any rate, while not it's most spectacular feature, it flowers here in early summer. Now actually what you are looking at are very very small flowers on a spike, a columnar inflorescence, subtended by four white bracts that have the appearance of a perianth making the whole thing look like a flower. Actually only the flowers on the lower third are open. Aggregations of tiny flowers into spikes is typical of the lizard tail family.