Monday, August 5, 2013

Cones and pods and such...

One of the best parts of gardening is observing the strange things plants do. My most recent discovery involves my Magnolia laevifolia, after the flowers faded these started to develop all over the plant…

Okay not really everywhere, just where there had been flowers. Some are double, others are single…

There are lots of pairs.

And there's a good sized cluster.

I did some investigating and couldn’t find any images, or mention, of these online. Of course what you typically see develop on a magnolia is cone shape with brightly colored seeds. Here’s what the ones on my Magnolia macrophyllia look like right now.

Click here for a great image after the cone has dried and the orange seeds are visible. Finally I learned this isn’t a cone after all: “The fruit of the magnolia looks like a cone. Is it actually a cone or what is it? Although it may look like a cone, it is actually an aggregate fruit that is woody. This flowering structure has changed little over millions of years. Magnolias are some of the most primitive of all flowering plants, but the seeds are enclosed in the fruit during their development, and therefore they must be classified as angiosperms, not as gymnosperms-the group to which conifers belong. As the fruit matures, scale-like areas on it split apart and the seeds, covered in a red fleshy aril, are exposed as they are in gymnosperms.” (source)

Since we're looking at interesting pods and cones lets take a peek at a couple of others. The Alstroemeria isabellana is crazy with Martian eyes! The hummingbirds love the flowers on this plant, is it normal to have one, or two, buzz a plant like every fifteen minutes?

I am thrilled that my (less than a year old) Amsonia hubrichtii is producing these cool bean-like seed pods.

My friend Bridget gave me this Cardiospermum halicacabum (Heart seed/Balloon vine), I've got it growing up a dead Musa basjoo stalk and I'm so excited to see those green puffs (and eventually the heart seeds).

It's an excellent year for the Hesperaloe parviflora, I think there are 9 seed pods on 3 plants.

Even the Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chips' has gotten in on the action. Looks like four make that three (the little one fell off after I took this picture) pollinated flowers!

So back to my Magnolia laevifolia, naturally I cut one of the little berries open and discovered the outside is just a thin coating, like an M&M (a little thicker) and then inside is a pea sized green seed. I’m pretty excited to watch how they mature. Will the outside turn darker? Will they eventually crack open or fall to the ground before they open? I’ll be watching. This stuff is better than TV…

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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