Sunday, June 19, 2011

Three-headed Monster

We found this three-headed corn poppy in Teesdale this morning. Sometimes abnormalities like this can be caused by herbicide sprays but, since there were other perfectly normal flower stems on the same plant, I think this was simply a chance developmental aberration. The flower stem is flattened like a plank - fasciated in botanical parlance - and this sometimes happens when growing points that would normally develop into separate shoots become joined together. There can be a variety of causes, including physical damage by an insect or pathogen, infection by the bacterium Rhodococcus (Corynebacterium) fascians, environmental shock or a genetic cause. There are other examples of fasciation here and here.

Here's a normal one...

8 comments:

  1. Looks like a 3 headed serpent. I have seen five headed serpents carved in stone in some temples.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Definitely looks like a monster! Interesting to learn the new term - fasciated.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is something special Phil, wish I had seen that in the flesh. Thanks for the explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi lotusleaf, it does look as though it's about to strike....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi swanscot - I've sometimes seen viper's bugloss plants that show the same syndrome, with broad, flat stems...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Toffeeapple, might go back and see what it looks like in flower....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Phil as ever fascinating stuff and most enlightening. Driving back along the A68 and 69 this afternoon its a real poppy fest year, or is it just me!.

    Stewart

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Stewart, there do seem to be some great displays of poppies around this year, don't there? There's a wonderful field of them on the way into Corbridge from the A*/A69 roundabout too...

    ReplyDelete