Flowers, florets of simple and complex forms.
Flowers come in numerous shapes, sizes and color. Some that appear simple are sometimes multi-fold complex in their anatomical features and their origin. For eg. an Evening Primrose's (Oenothera speciosa) pink flower and Chinese Sweetshrub (Calycanthus chinesis) might appear similar in that the outer layers have simple 4-7 petals. Both are whitish pink, have no fragrance, and are delicate and solitary in appearance.
However, as simple as the Primrose flowers are with a single layer of petals, the Calycanthus chinensis are far too complex. Not only is it a rare plant in the wild, what appears as petals are actually a layer of tepals. They have not one, but two layers of tepals: a white outer layer and an inner smaller yellow layer.
Sweetshrub (Calycanthus chinensis (or Sinocalycanthus) is a distinct woodland shrub that flowers in May. "While presently established in several public gardens and a few private gardens in England, Holland, Canada, and the United States, Sinocalycanthus is largely unknown in botanical and horticultural circles". Source
Another complex flower is of the Arum family, Arum maculatum. Here the flowers are borne on an inflorescence stalk called "spadix," and it is enclosed in a hood shaped spathe. The flowers actually are tucked inside at the bottom on the spathe, with a ring of male flowers at the base and female above.
Too complex? Or are the precious flowers of Dogwood even more so?
Cornus species, or Dogwoods, are known for their showy flowers have flowers that are almost inconspicuous and complex. What appears as petals are true bracts (modified leaves) with true flowers tucked inside at the center in a pinchusion shape. Featured is a variety of Cornus 'Rutpink' a new variety from Rutgers University. It is not a hybrid, but a species selected after many generations of intercrossing different forms.
Flowers, florets, inflorescence, simple, complex or inconspicuous, flowers come in numerous shapes and sizes. Look up close though, what sometimes seems simple is sometimes far too complex. But simple or complex, their purpose is the same, to propagate and help the species thrive.
Grow the ReLeaf Fund Recently, London Town launched the ReLeaf Fund. This newly created fund was inspired by the cycle of renewal in our gardens. Donations to it will ensure that London Town will grow again. Funds will be matched up to $35,000! Learn more and donate today!
London Town: Today and Tomorrow Survey You may have noticed an increase in our online postings lately. Will you take a short survey about what posts and virtual programs you'd like? You can also share your thoughts about re-opening London Town and what sort of programs you'd like to see after the crisis is over. Take the survey here