Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - A Passion

It's snowing, not unusual in February, except for this year when there's been not very much snow.  This definitely puts spring on hold for another 2-3 weeks.  Darned woodchuck!  So back to the glasshouse to see what's in bloom that you might not have seen.  Ah, here's a really nice flower, quite lovely, and quite unusual in its own way, a passion flower (Passiflora citrina) that remains quite oblivious to the weather outside.  Many of you have seen passion flowers before, and you can recognize many of the common elements here, but in a very different flower.  The ovary (green) is stalked and sits aloft just below the 3 parted style and 3 stigmas. Arranged beneath this are the stamens whose anthers are delicately hinged upon the ends of the outwardly curved filaments.  The 10 perianth parts, all petalloid, for a cup with nectaries at their base.  Where the corolla (inner perianth) forms the broad top of the cup, a ring of appendages forms a corona.  An incoming pollinator, probably a hummingbird in spite of the flower color, will pick up pollen from the anthers when probing the cup for nectar, and this will be in a position to be picked up by one of the stigmas at the next flower visited.  This vine flowers all the time and is pretty trouble free if you have room for it.  The flower is about 5-6 cm across. 

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