Sunday, July 16, 2017

cocksfoot vivipary

Cock'sfoot grass Dactylis glomerata sometimes exhibits unusual reproductive behaviour, known as vivipary.

This is a normal inflorescence, with florets that will produce seeds after pollination ....

..... and this is an abnormal inflorescence that I found a few days ago, where florets have started to form but have no stamens, stigma or ovary and the bracts that surround these structures have become leafy.

This viviparous behaviour is commonest in late-flowering plants and what has happened is that during their development the flowers have become leafy vegetative structures. 

The assumption is that these will eventually drop off, form roots in contact with the soil and grow into new clonal plants that are identical to the parent. 

I've never sen any evidence that these leafy structures are really capable of rooting and forming new plants, so ....

..... I'm keeping a close eye on them to see if it really happens. So far, after four days, those leafy bracts are growing, but so far no sign of any roots....

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