Saturday, May 8, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three Petals


This might look like a buttercup that's two petals short of a full corolla.... but it's a perfectly normal flower of the first species of buttercup to come into bloom in spring, known as Goldilocks Ranunculus auricomus.


Goldilocks comes into bloom well before the last of the lesser celandines have opened. Its leaves are distinctive, with long narrow lobes but its flowers are downright demented. All the flowers portrayed on this post are from the same plant and they are all quite normal... for this species. Floral development is unstable in goldilocks and each bloom on a single plant can possess anything between none or five petals......


........ with five-petalled flowers like the one above usually being in the minority.


This one has just three expanded petals .......

.... and this one has only one...

.... while in this one has three petals and a sepal with yellow petal-like edges (or is it a mal-formed petal with a sepal-like centre?). In goldlocks it's quite normal for each flower to be abnormal - in fact, if you look closely enough, you could convince yourself that every flower on a single plant has its own unique structure.

1 comment:

  1. That is something I never knew, or noticed before Phil. Amazing. I'm going to check round here tomorrow, when I go out.
    What a fascinating plant.

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