Sunday, June 21, 2009

The birds and the bees

The point of a flower, of course, is the seed. Spring's blooms are going to seed now (if they haven't already). Here's a look at celandine poppies as they go from flower to seed pod. (All the pictures were taken today; the plants started flowering early and still aren't finished, so they are simultaneously at all stages in the process...)
A new flower (next to a forming seed pod). The stamen haven't let go their pollen yet and everything looks fresh.
A fully open flower, displaying, at the base of the pistil, the swelling ovum which will become the seed pod. The pollen is mostly gone, which is good, because the petals, whose job is to call in the pollinators with their ultraviolet "Eat at Joe's!" signs, are starting to look ratty. They will fall off soon, leaving...
A newly-formed seed pod, pistil still attached. It's not large, less than 1/2 inch at this point, though the photo doesn't show this. It will grow until...
It's ready to start to burst open (the pistil will split into three strands soon...). At this point it's almost an inch long, and still bearing seeds. But soon they will pop out...
And it's popped open and distributed the seeds, which will grow tiny little celandine planties, some of which are already present under the parent plants!
Here is a ready-to-burst pod split open so the seeds inside are visible (also note split pistil in top left of photo).

Some other seeds forming...
1. Columbine plant showing seed pods and flowers.
2. Columbine seed pod, still green. It will turn brown and dry up, and the seeds, which look like poppy seeds , will spill out.
3. Anenome seed pod
4. Wild geranium seeds, brown and ready behind green and almost-there.
5. Prairie smoke, displaying the reason for its common name.
6. Pasqueflower.

This is not a seed, I recognize, but it is a cool cicada shell I found while braving the mosquitoes to attack the creeping charlie in the humidity, and activity which lasted half-hour, probably didn't help that much in the long run, and will leave me scratching for days.

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