Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Little plant, big flower

2021 has already been a banner year for flowering in our gardens, and this includes a couple of frosty nights.  In particular the flowering shrubs have been amazing especially with respect to the masses of flowers produced.  A few herbaceous plants have also been notable for their displays, a sadly disappointing lack of flowering for our pear trees is the only dnf (did not flower) of note.  After last week's FFF, a couple of readers wanted to know what the flower looked like after the "candle" stage, but circumstances prevented getting a good image of that flower stage.  However, their curiosity can be somewhat satisfied by substituting another big leaf magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla var. ashei, the ashe Magnolia from the Florida panhandle.  The plant is tougher than you might think considering its limited southern distribution.  This is TPP's second try, the extreme of a polar vortex proved too much for my first plant.  But it survived zero degrees at least twice.  It flowers in a similar manner to M. tripetala, starting with a candle stage, but then when it reaches the stamen shattering stage (just started), the 6 tepals all open widely making the flower about a 10-12" creamy white saucer, with red coloration at the base of the three inner tepals. The plant is barely 3.5' tall at present, so pretty impressive.  Oh, yes, one big leaf species has auriculate lobes at the base of the blade (M. macrophylla), the other's blade narrows acuminately to the petiole.

No comments: