Sunday, May 15, 2016

Arbutus Seed Clusters


The season for trailing arbutus flowers is drawing to a close.  In a few different locations, some older blossoms have been found hidden under covering leaves.  Their location out of direct sunlight may be responsible for the longer season.  These flowers are not the only things here showing marks of age and we are still taking moments to savor their mature scent.

We were delighted to find immature seed clusters moving toward the formation of viable seeds.  Soon after the pink tinged flowers first appeared here, the blossoms littered the ground having been separated from the plant.  Pollen needed to be deposited on the now blacken tips of the rod like structure protruding from the center of the seed berry.  With the flower petals lying on the ground, the pollen receiver was fully exposed for easy access.  The timing must have been exactly right as every blossom in this cluster was fertilized.  That claim may be an exaggeration since the leftmost flower remains are hidden from view.

These seed berries are on a different plant at the other end of this group of transplants.  The brown tipped spent flower in the center was not fertilized and will now wither away.  The hairy stem at the right edge of the seed cluster may be the beginning of new growth.  We did see new growth just beginning to appear on other plants.  It is impressive that these female plants develop seeds while sending out new stems and leaves.  That seems like a formidable task for any plant.

Once again we missed seeing pollen laden male flowers.  This is a busy time of year for both the plants and the gardener so new pollen remains on the list of things for us to see in the future.  These plants still show the impact of the very dry fall last year.  Many of the blossom clusters formed then displayed a dead brown appearance.  Some can still be found in that exact same state.  We did enjoy many open flowers but the overall display was smaller than usual.  We hope that the hard freeze forecast for tonight has no impact on these developing seeds.

1 comment:

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

I hope your plants came through the freeze OK. My garden here didn't have any damage, but many fruit farmers are reporting major damage because the hard freeze hit after the plants had formed full foliage and fruit. Also, north of here many gardeners lost hostas and other perennials.