Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flush

Quite a number of tropical plants flush red, which is to say that the new foliage appears pigmented from pink to red, a topic TPP has touched on a time or two (here and here), but never this particular plant.  This is Pereskia, a large shrub to scandent vine in the cactus family.  Yep, it's got regular leaves, although a bit fleshy, and here they are on new shoots, sporting a bright pink color, anthocyanins that probably have a protective function according to one of my best buddies, David Lee.  At any rate, this is more colorful than it's flowers which are a light greenish white.  This genus is one of the basal lineages of the cactus family more or less showing you what the ancestors of this family looked like.  These plants can be seasonally deciduous dropping their leaves during dry seasons.  The older leafless stem looks a bit more like a cactus except that it doesn't remain green and photosynthetic like more succulent cacti. 

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