Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fascination With Fasciation

Weirdness abounds in the garden. Just when you think you know your flowers, they throw something odd at you that leaves you scratching your head. Sometimes odd is good, like when something mutates and lo and behold you've got a new cultivar, and sometimes it's just ... well ... odd.

Two summers ago, I noticed one of the gaillardias had an elongated flower head. It wasn't symmetrically round like its siblings. I took a picture and posted it over at Dave's Garden and the smart gardeners over there told me what I had was a fasciated flower head.

That's right - this had a proper name. That must mean it happens fairly often, and after only three years of gardening, I found that it's true. I've had daisies do it, coneflowers do it, and the gaillardia does it a lot. This morning, I found that even fruits do it.

This canteloupe looks like conjoined melons and whether it's true fasciation or not, I don't know. The stem is extra-wide and flattened and both melons are connected at the hip. It will be interesting to see how this one develops and if we'll get something worth harvesting and eating.

Fasciation generally occurs as a result of random developmental disruption. It may also be caused by the same bacteria that causes leafy gall disease (Rhodococcus fascians), or by extreme changes in temperature, insects, or herbicides. It can even be caused by chance from damage that may occur while hoeing. And sometimes it's even a desirable characteristic that occurs naturally in some plants like the Japanese Fantail Willow (Salix sachalinensis 'Sekkar') which is prized by florists for use in flower arranging.

Now you know.


Jean said...

Thanks for the info! I had a cone flower do that before.

Unknown said...

Great post Kylee...Fasciation rhythm in plants. Now, a serious question (one you've probably answered before). What kind of camera are you using, and do you have a macro (closeup) lens? Your closeup photography is just awesome. I'm about to buy a macro lens for my Canon Rebel XT--then take some photography lessons, too!

Aiyana said...

Interesting post. I learned something new.

kate said...

I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

What a fascinating post Kylee. ;-)

BTW you've won an award, read all about it on Bliss. Congratulations, it's well deserved!

Kylee Baumle said...

Jodi, you've got a much better camera than I do! Mine is a Canon A710 IS. I just love it and got it because it's supposed to be especially good with macro shots.

Yolanda Elizabet, thank you! I don't feel like I'm doing anything to change the world, but then we all change something about our world just by being in it, don't we?

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