Thursday, January 1, 2009

cleistogamy--- flowers that need not open to the world

Student (after reading chapter 1) ... this book is going to make my head explode...

Me... cool

Student.... But it is like Alice in Wonderland crossed with a botany text...

Me... Cool (thinking... what a great comparison!)

Student... Not it's not

Me... Do you want me to see if she (Sharman Apt Russell) has written other books for us to read? (she has but I have not read any others to this date)

Student... shakes head and walks away, laughing.

Yesterday I read chapter 5 and I am still thinking... cool. I chose Anatomy of A Rose because I wanted my biology students to read something a bit more interesting than a text book. I sat at the coffee shop reading about pollination and fertilization. The information is true, the writing is beautiful. She speaks of many pathways to reproduce and violets came up. Many flowers in the genus, Viola, go the way of being cleistogamous. Kleistos is Greek for "closed," and is a perfect prefix to describe the back up plan of many members of the genus. If the open flowers don't get pollinated the plants can reproduce by way of a flower that never opens. There is no need. Without opening it will self-pollinate and produce seeds.

As to whether the pansy we grew last year is an example, I do not know and have tired of trying to find out if these pansies behave this way. No matter, it is a favored photo from 2008 and so I share it with you. It points out a reason to be grateful. Most flowering plants go out of their way to not self-pollinate. Success requires them to open up for the world to see. And though we are not the intended audience, we get to see the amazing beauty.

as a final note... Legumes are well known for reproducing the same way.


13 comments:

The Garden Faerie said...

Happy new year! I had no ideo about cleistogamy. Cool concept, though!
~ Monica

tina said...

At first I thought the flower an iris. Sure is a lovely picture. And it is interesting about flowers not opening up. Have a Happy New Year!

Wayne Stratz said...

GF--- it truly is an Alice in Wonderland world of plants we live in... thanks for the visit

Tina-- It is the color of my favorite iris. blogging about it reminded me that I am late for planting pansy seeds. I need to buy some at the beginning of the year to plant in November. I must not have any in my classroom.

walk2write said...

Mr. S, I found your blog through a comment left on Tina's site. I am intrigued by your site, postings, pics, and links. It's all very interesting and full of helpful information. I'm curious, though. Do you make it required reading for your students?

Wayne Stratz said...

walk2write-- I got a go ahead from the school just before winter break so my students will find out when we get back. public response has been good so far.

required, hmmm no it won't be required but I will encourage them to read it and to continue to inspire posts.

Cindy said...

Happy New Year! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and I'm sorry I have been bad at responding to comments these past two weeks but I should be back on track now that it's the new year and my life should get back to it's normal chaos :)
I am really enjoying the information and writing on your site.

Wayne Stratz said...

Cindy--- so as my lots of free time to get out into the garden blog world winds down... life is like that. a roller coaster. enjoy the normal chaos. thanks for the visit.

Kerri said...

Like Cindy, I've been slow responding to visitors this month, but now that life is slowing down a little, here I am to say hello. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
I'll be interested to see how your geraniums from seed do.
Anatomy of a Rose sounds fascinating. I hope your students find it interesting.
Flowers are amazing! Your picture is beautiful. I also like the one your wife took, and understand why you like it so much even though you're a blur :)
Happy New Year!

Wayne Stratz said...

Kerri-- I was over at the school and three of those geraniums have flower buds. took some photos but don't know how they turned out. thanks for stopping by

Chandramouli S said...

Cool! That' so new to me. Never knew this fact! Thank you! Happy and Bloomy New Year, Wayne!

Wayne Stratz said...

chandramouli--- glad I could give you some new info that was also cool

J.A. Howard-Gibbon said...

I found biology the easiest of the sciences. The most interesting book I read about plants was a local one which gave examples of the common wild plants here. The chevrons which are so varied in clovers.

Wayne Stratz said...

J.A.--- me too. I may be an engineer right now if I had had more of a passion for physics.