Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Yellow Walking Iris

Our teaching greenhouse is always interesting to visit during the winter months because the plant life is quite vibrant and many tropical plants are in flower. What spurs so many of them to flower is a bit hard to understand because most are supposedly day-neutral and therefore not stimulated to flower by the long nights, yet they seem to be. Yellow walking iris (Neomarica longifolia) is not in the genus Iris, but it is in the Iris family and the resemblance is fairly obvious. Walking iris is also a near weed albeit a pretty one because after flowering, plantlets grow from within the floral bracts and when they are heavy enough the inflorescence bends down and the plantlets take root. In a subtropical to tropical climate this plant could "walk" across a shady area in nothing flat. The Phactor has never seen what pollinates these flowers, but the perianth has leopardy nectar guides and the petalloid stigmas and three stamens forming a central column jiggle at the slightest vibration or touch so it would be great to see how it actually works. Tilt! Tilt! Tilt!

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