Saturday, July 14, 2012

Green Mutants

Early this spring I noticed that I had three self-seeded purple coneflower plants coming up, and I was pleased. I love purple coneflowers, and the one that sprouted last year was lovely. This year's crop is another story.

Purple coneflowers are supposed to look like this. They're purple, see, and sort of cone shaped. And the domesticated versions are not much different from the wild ones, which is why they can self-seed successfully. But no, mine decided to be more green than purple.

Not to mention hideously misshapen. Whatever you want to call that shape, it certainly isn't a cone. What's up with these flowers?


leif said...

we've had some columbines that have regressed in many ways, including plant height, blossom color, size and form, and even leaf shape. i attribute this, with my limited botanical knowledge, to seed production based on impure strains (F2 hybrids no more), weather, and inconsistent watering.

sounds like you've had weather on your side, for the most part, so possibly your changes are due in part to seeds produced by hybrids (which revert to non hybrids), or interbreeding with native species.

or, one could extend the review to herbicides, some of which act hormonally on plants they do not kill.

leif said...

sorry, forgot that stunted flower production can sometimes be the result of insufficient nutrients. i have seen this occur in potted plants, which don't receive the benefits of worm castings, for instance. it may be worth looking into as well.