Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - A Gesneriad

How frustrating to have obtained a fabulous flower picture from my prairie study site only to have e-lost it somewhere, so when your well designed plan fails, punt. While still field season here in Lincolnland, plans are being finalized for this year's tropical field work in Costa Rica, so with a bit of fast forward thinking, here's a fabulous flower, a gesneriad, which means a member of the Gesneriaceae, a largely tropical family of herbaceous plants, best known for the domesticated house plant, the African violet. This wonderful plant is Chrysothemis friedrichsthaliana, a species mouthful, and in terms of growth it seems most like a Gloxinia because it produces tubers and periodically goes dormant. The display is a combination of showy and persistent calyx tubes, and the yellow-orange corollas. The calyx tubes hold water (just barely visible in this image) that protect the flower bud and young fruit, a not unusual condition among tropical plants.


Mike Borlovan said...

Is is absolutely a fabulous flower! The Gesneriad, is it growing spcifically in Lincolnland only or can they grow in other places, like in the South? I'm located in Alabama down on the Gulf of Mexico. Just wondering. Your blog is fabulous, too! I enjoyed it.


The Phytophactor said...

Well, Mike, this is a purely tropical plant native to the wet tropics of Costa Rica. In grows here because we have a glasshouse devoted to exotics, our teaching collection. Even on the gulf the winter weather would be too cold and it would need protection, and clearly it requires too much moisture to be a house plant. This is probably why such a "looker" has not been commercially introduced into the horticultural trade.

Anonymous said...

Your picture shows Chrysothemis pulchella -
Chrysothemis friedrichthaliana has a green calyx, in C. pulchella the calyx is red.

Ursula Gelchsheimer said...

Your picture shows Chrysothemis pulchella -
Chrysothemis friedrichsthaliana has a green calyx, in C. pulchella the calyx is red.

The Phytophactor said...

How right you are! Thanks.