Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Many of our plants spend the night and cold days in the relative warmth of the basement. Today definitely qualified as a cold day and these plants remained inside. Imagine my surprise when this newly opened wood lily flower was discovered. By waiting to remove the bud for the good of the plant we got to see a new flower. Plant and blossom spent Mother's Day on the kitchen counter. The flower will be removed and the plant returned to the basement to wait for warmer weather and its move to a permanent location.

Wild fringed polygala, Polygala paucifolia, is our traditional Mother's Day flower. Extreme cold temperatures today kept this flower tightly closed. Freeze warnings are out for tonight. We will likely experience heavy loses of flowers and fruit. Checking the condition of the polygala will be on tomorrow's must do list.

We have been unable to find a commercial source for this plant. 36 plants were found in the back woods today. Their numbers seem to be dropping in the wild. Bringing a plant into the garden is under consideration. Mrs. William Starr Dana describes polygala as having long underground shoots. Woods soil is usually a tightly interwoven mat of various roots. Add to that our stony ground and moving this plant sounds like a recipe for disaster. A single small cluster was found today growing at the edge of a movable flat stone. When our weather settles, peeking under that flat stone sounds like a place to start. Impossible to move is the most likely outcome. If success is not possible, then we will leave the plant unharmed.

As a footnote, Mrs. William Starr Dana described polygala's underground shoots as bearing cleistogamous flowers. This term is totally new to us. We will look for the concealed fertile flower when the flat stone is moved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cleistogamous flowers are self pollinating and don't open. :) I had to look it up -- it was a new term to me, too. I hope your cold night temps don't harm this little beauty.

And I hope you spent a lovely Mother's Day. :)