September 2009 Archives
These Morning Glory seeds are on a large trellis outside my house. You can see two different seed pods. There is one in the center of the picture that is still holding onto its seeds from last summer. While the one on the left has only just lost its flower and is not mature yet. So hopefully it will be ready to drop its seeds next spring.
This delicious banana was my breakfast the other day. As you can see, the seeds are digested with the fruit, and then disbursed through excrement.
This huckleberry plant produces berries that are attractive to animals and birds. When the berries are eaten, they are carried away from the parent plant and discarded in the animal's droppings, which provides a convenient fertilizer.
This gomphrena has wind-dispersed seeds. Each individual bract has a feathery inside that should allow it to be carried by the wind once the inflorescence is dry.
These little seeds are hitching a ride on the tail of my dog Zander, who nicely volunteered to help demonstrate the technique of seed dispersal via animal coat. Each seed is covered with stiff, prickly hairs that act like the hooks on Velcro (which I believe was actually inspired by burrs) to bury the seeds within Zander's fur. Given time, he will worry the seeds loose with his teeth and spit them out, with luck in a location favorable for the seed's germination.
The seeds on this Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' are in the process of being dispersed by ingestion, in this case via the gullet of a female Goldfinch. Some of the seeds may survive their journey and be excreted in a new location where they can germinate and grow.
Lake Sarita on the St. Paul Campus. Severely stressed plants from unstable water levels, flooding and pollution.
This tomato was found at the Seward Co-op. The pericarp includes the flesh from the outside of the tomato to the cavity where the seeds are located. The gel membrane surrounding each seed is the seed coat. I found the tomato interesting because it challenged my natural perception of a seed coat as being a hard material.
I found this example on the fringe of Prospect Park to the east. It is a soon to be developed plot of land where a building once stood. By looking at the photo, there are only three to four types of plant able to survive here. I believe that the main stresses are poor soil quality leading to poor water storage and drainage. I also think the absence of shade is a contributing factor to the lack of plant growth.
I took this picture on Washington Avenue right outside the Weisman Art Center. You can see the harsh environment from the fact that the plants (or weeds) are surrounded by concrete and have hundreds of cars passing by them everyday.
Here I've gone and found a peach, which was not only a great learning tool, but delicious too. The stressful environment is an area down by the U of M boathouse, which is not only subject to the rise and fall of the water level and the indescribable pollutants found therein, but the daily trampeling to and fro of the women's rowing team. All in all, a seemingly treacherous environment for plants, though it appears as though some weed species are accustomed to the wet sandy conditions.
I found this fruit in my freezer. I also had beans and pea pods, but I thought the sugar snap pea most clearly showed the seed coat and the pericarp.
This picture was taken from my car on Highway 36 towards Stillwater.I think that it shows the lack of diversity in the plants that can grow here. The harsh grime from the roads and cars, as well as the winter road salts and plows make the areas along freeways and highways not very hospitable to plant life. Only the hardiest of grasses and weeds can grow.
This is a Gala apple that I purchased from the grocery store. I have labeled the pericarp or ovary wall, and the seedcoat or ovule wall. Delicious!
This photo shows a portion of a matured inflorescence from a False Indigo (Baptisia australis) plant growing in my backyard in St. Paul. When the ovary walls, or pericarps, are fully ripened they look like black pea pods - there can be as many as 50 of them on a raceme. As you can see, the seed coats are two-toned brown, and are quite hard. The seeds tend to separate from the pericarp interior when the pod is fully ripened (as shown here), so they literally "rattle around" inside the pericarp.
This photo depicts the space between my apartment building and the one next door. The area is shaded and protected by both buildings as well as the trees in front of them. The heavy shade and the lack of water cause stress for the plants. The grass that was planted here is struggling to survive, and most weeds have been unable to establish themselves. Plant diversity is very low here.
This sand dune is situated along the west bank of the Mississippi River, near the juncture of Minnehaha Ave. and E. 58th St. There is very little organic material in the "soil," which is pretty much pure sand; the area is also subject to periodic floods as well as drought conditions, and is exposed to the hot afternoon sun. It's not immediately apparent from the photo, but the area also has a pretty steep slope. Consequently, in a 50-foot wide band from river's edge to the start of the hardwoods, the only plant observed is a species of Willow.
This is a marsh near where I live. It's a low spot in the terrain, often with visible water. There are cattails through the whole area, and little else. They grow in there very densely, and they are tall, so they block the light that other plants would need to grow in the area.
These images were taken while taking a stroll around Huron Blvd. The first image, the node, I believe is some sort of crabapple tree, clearly showing a big bundle of fruits in a cluster. The second image, from the juniper family I think, is a bit busy for a photograph. This image shows a couple of different areas where brown stem, green leaf-bits and blue juniper berries all emerge from what I assume are nodes. (Incidentally, I have now finished uploading the images, and for some reason the 'second' image is at the top of the blog, and the 'first' is at the bottom. Go figure.) - Matthew Kessler
This is a plant that is growing in my neighbor's garden. I believe it's a compound umbrel inflorescence. I'm pretty sure it's a sedum.
This plant is growing in my front garden. It is a Garden Aster - Aster novi-belgii, which I only know because I left the tag in there last year when I planted it. There are leaves, branches and an extension of the stem growing from the node.
I also found this plant in a small garden on the corner of Como and 22nd Ave. The node is clearly visible in the middle of the stem. It is composed of 2 leaves, 2 flowers, and a continuation of the stem.
I found this plant in a small garden on the corner of Como Ave. and 22nd Ave. The inflorescence is composed of a pink petals along with rachis just below the petals. The peduncle is also visible.
Here is an illustration of an inflorescence on an Aster plant (exact species unknown) growing in my mother's back yard in Roseville, MN. Based on descriptions provided by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I believe the inflorescence is of the capitulum type, characteristic of flowers in the Asteraceae family, in which many small florets (the actual flowers) are packed together and surrounded by rays (the "petals"). The pedicel and the peduncle are apparent, but since there is no branching, there does not appear to be a rachis.
This photo illustrates nodes on an American Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) plant growing in my mother's back yard in Roseville, MN. As the main branch grows from left to right, there are 3 major nodes at which there are secondary branches and inflorescences (now mostly berries).
This inflorescence is on a sedum, also found in the campus test gardens. It seems to be in compound umbel form.
This node is occurring on a hop plant, which I found growing in the test gardens on campus. At this node, three things are happening: leaf, fruit (the hops!), and continuation of stem.
I found this example of inflorescence in a planter on Church Street. I believe it is an umbel type. Clearly visible is the peduncle shown spouting from the 2 leaf node. Also visible are the many rachis and the short pedicel from the rachis to the base of the flowers.
I found these examples of a nodes outside of Ford Hall. At each node, 2 leaves sprout outward with a continuation of the main stem. I chose this image because the nodes are a focal point of the structure and composition of the plant.
This plant I found in my back yard. It is a tall grass with leaves and stem growing from the nodes.
I found this plant in my garden at home. It is Catnip. I think that it is a Panicle structure from looking back at the cartoon. There are leaves, stems, and rachis extending from nodes
Here's an example of an inflorescence that shows the three components that I want to see in your pictures: Peduncle (the portion of stem between the last node and the start of the inflorescence), the pedicel (the small bit of stem attached to the base of the flower) and the rachis (the bits of stem that are between the peduncle and pedicel including the central axis of the inflorescence plus branches off the axis that lead to the pedicel).