Leopard Plant

This ligularia dentata, or leopard plant, I found growing at Salem Chapel. I can find little explanation for its vernacular English name, though I propose two possibilites:

  • Its colour resembles somewhat the leopard’s fur, with its dark spots on a golden back;
  • The plant requires shading from the midday sun, much like its feline namesake, which is observed sitting in or under trees.

Jeremiah famously asks:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil. 13:23 (NKJV)

No, is the answer. Black folk cannot become white (and why should they want to?), nor the leopard become unspotted or striped. Neither, therefore, can sinners do any good, much less unrepentant ones. We are without hope. Yet Jeremiah’s colleague, Isaiah, has some good news from God Himself:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. 1:18

What we cannot change or effect, God can. He can get sinners into heaven by Christ’s cross, and He can slowly transform them into saints by the Spirit’s empowering.