The reproductive syndrome and Iris dichotoma

Iris dichotoma flowers, the Vesper Iris, formerly Pardanthopsis, open ‘religiously’ in the afternoon around 4 pm. By late evening, they are already withered. Nonetheless they are beautiful and it is exciting to watch. It makes you wonder – why the short period of flowering?

Iris dichotoma2

According with an article from the Journal of Experimental Botany: “flower opening and closure are traits of a reproductive syndrome, as it allows pollen removal/and or pollination”. Although a peculiar species, the vesper iris is not given as an example in the study.

Iris dichotoma

Iris dichotoma – first year flowering from seeds; super easy to grow

Those interested can read about the mechanism of opening and closure, carbohydrate metabolism, hormonal regulation and more here – Flower opening and closure: a review, Wouter G. van Doorn, Uulke van Meeteren.

Note on Vesper
In many Christian denominations, vespers is the name used for the evening prayer service. From Greek ‘hespera’ and Latin ‘vesper’ = evening.

 

One more for the collection!

Gentiana cachemirica

As it happens, species that flower successively over a long period of time will often have the first seeds ‘ready’ while still in bloom. Last evening, ahead of another front of thundershowers, I had a look around the garden and, you don’t say, I found the first seed capsules of Gentiana cachemirica!

Not often cultivated and often misnamed in the trade, this is an alpine gentian endemic from Pakistan and Kashmir (hence the proclaimed common name of Kashmir gentian).  Let’s see it again:

Gentiana cachemirica - flower open

Gentiana cachemirica

It flowers in late summer, starting in late July-August (don’t believe the ones saying it’s a spring flowering gentian), it has a decumbent habit (best to have it flowing over a wall or on the rockery slope, if possible) and enjoys a part shaded position. It grows from thickened rhizomes and it is long lived after established.

There are other plants flowering in the garden, of course, most notably Clematis heracleifolia ‘China Purple’, a gentle reminder of the slide towards late August //:-o

Clematis heracleifolia 'China Purple'

Clematis heracleifolia ‘China Purple’

 

Cuteness alert – Clinopodium arkansanum

Limestone calamint (syn. Calamintha, Satureja)

 Some may have noticed that I’m in love with little plants; I like them even more when they are fragrant!

The Limestone calamint is a dwarf, extremely aromatic species that I really wanted to have in my seed collections and around my rockery. In Ontario, it can be found growing on the rocky shores of Lake Huron, on temporarily moist, calcareous flats and between boulders.

Clinopodium arkansanum flowers

Clinopodium arkansanum – Limestone calamint

The little cutie has large blooms for its size, then capsules which remain enclosed in the calyces. The stems take a nice purple colour contrasting nicely with the lavender flowers. Stepping on them (by mistake of course!) will release an aromatic minty wave into the air; also an ID help when not in flower ;)

Unfortunately, it is very hard to say when the seeds are ‘ready’ and had I failed to collect them in the wild during the past couple of years. 

Fortunately, I managed to collect a few this time!

Too cute not to have it!