Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Draba & Leavenworthia Blooms

Here we are again with two of my favorite plants, Leavenworthia uniflora and Draba cuneifolia. These particular plants are some that are growing in one of the beds of my vegetable garden. I get to see them every day, and every day I am more impressed with the size and vigor of these pampered specimens. What a difference good soil and lack of competition make in the development of these species.

These two Leavenworthia uniflora plants have grown together to form one. Leaf and flower production has been compromised where the two plants collide, but even when considering that impediment it’s fair to say that each plant has produced a remarkable number of flowers. At some points there are so many flower stalks that they almost obstruct the view of the leaves below.

Each one of those flowers will produce a pod containing 10 to 12 seeds. These two plants alone will produce hundreds of seeds.

The Draba cuneifolia hardly bears any resemblance at all to the much smaller plants found growing in their typical habitat on the barrens. Flower stalks come out of the main plant from all directions.

The typical wild plants generally have a single flower stalk that rises vertically from the cluster of basal leaves. These garden specimens produce a few vertical stalks, but far more of the flower stalks grow horizontally from the bulk of the plant.

Each stalk has no shortage of blooms.

Hidden by the wreath of open flowers are clusters of new buds, some ready to open and others just beginning to form.

Each flower leaves behind a small flat pod.  Each of these pods could easily hold over 100 seeds. The flowers remain clustered at the top stock, but once a seed pod begins to develop, the stock elongates so that there is a gap between each pod.

Most of the Draba cuneifolia plants already have a dozen or more active flower stalks, but that is only the beginning for this season. Dozens more stalks are already beginning to push their way upwards. My harvest of seed from these plants should be phenomenal. That seed will go a long way in helping to expand the populations now growing on the barrens. I’m just hoping that the 20°F temperatures and possible snow forecast for this weekend doesn’t have an adverse effect on the yield.

I would offer an apology to that individual who is tired of seeing me blog about the Leavenworthia uniflora and Draba cuneifolia, but I am certain that he would never have read down to this point.

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