Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plant Sex

I began my Dendrology laboratory this past Wednesday and we touched on the concept of monoecious and dioecious. Generally speaking, monoecious plants have unisexual flowers( seperate male and female flowers) that occur on the same plant. Dioecious plants also have unisexual flowers but they occur on separate plants, as in male flowers on one plant and female on another. However, Despite all the different times I have heard this, I still get a little confused. Michael G. Simpson does a nice job of explaining this concept and the different variations that occur on this monoecious-dioecious spectrum in his textbook, Plant Taxonomy:

Click twice on the image to view:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tropical Escape

Brassavola Little Stars

Despite the fact that there is a bit of snow on the ground here in Blacksburg, Va., we still have a few things blooming around here. There is a Brassavola Little Stars blooming just inside the front doors of the garden pavilion. Come visit it late in the day and you will be able to smell its sweet fragrance. Also, blooming right next to it is Begonia dregei (syn. B. richardsiana). Unlike any Begonia I have seen before, it is mini-sized and develops a swollen, bulbous, stem base (caudex) as it matures. Because of its habit and toleration of dry conditions, it apparently lends itself to Bonsai. If you check out the Logee's website, there is a picture of it grown in this way. Very Cool!

P.S. I am a little bit confused on the nomenclature of this plant. I have seen it listed a bunch of different ways, B. 'Richardsiana', et. al., but went with B. dregei because the USDA GRIN ( website lists it as such, with B. richardsiana as a synonym. If you know otherwise, please let me know!

Begonia dregei