Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Aloe

The outdoor gardening season is just about done.  The monkshood or wolf bane is just coming into flower here in early October, right on schedule. Red October the lastest flowering hosta is just finishing up.  And TPP must turn his attention to the glasshouse to find flowers of interest.  One bed of succulents has a huge clone of a relatively common Aloe, and every decent sized stem was in flower.  There are over 500 species and lots of cultivars, and TPP has no idea what this one is.  Any suggestions?  Quite colorful in a salmon sort of way.  This inflorescence is a near perfect example of a raceme, a single central stem with an ascending helix of stalked flowers.  With so many flowers it takes quite a few days to flower from bottom to top.  Note how the flowers change position as they come into flower.  The lowest flowers are in a pollen accepting phase with the stigma protruding from the corolla.  No hummingbirds were around, but a little self-pollination will produce a few fruits.  The whole thing makes for quite a visual display.

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