Saturday, May 1, 2010


Today's Drawing is a bunch of flowers from a crab apple tree. Note how similar these blooms are to the strawberry flowers drawn in the last post. Strawberries and apples are just two of the many food plants that belong to the same surprising family... the rose family! And while apples, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, almonds, etc. may not seem to have that much in common with a rose at first glance (much less each other), the flowers and leaves give them away.

All have five-petaled (and five-sepaled) flowers... well, except for cultivated roses. Those have been bred to have many more petals, probably in multiples of five, but wild roses have five. The five petals frame a cluster of many stamen, also in multiples of 5. These crab apples seem to have about 25, though I'm not taking the time to count very accurately. The leaves also have similarities. For example, the leaves tend to be toothed, but the teeth don't start until about half-way up the edge of the leaf, so that near the base they are smooth-edged. This is most evident on the strawberry, which has large teeth. But you can see it on the crab apple, too, if you look closely. The teeth are so small that most people never notice, but it's true! Finally, the leaf and flower stems have stipules, which are little tendril-y things that come out at the base of their stems. (These are so small, they show up in my drawings only as a messy little line.)

So there's your botany lesson for the day!

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