Thursday, June 4, 2009

Buds but no blooms

In the last few weeks, James and I have been perplexed to see our Brazilian rock rose (Pavonia braziliensis) put on SCADS of buds, but nary a one has bloomed. We planted it last August, and it flowered quite a bit before winter. It kept most of its leaves, too. Then this spring, it put on all these buds...

So this morning, I Googled around a bit and found a little bit of interesting information. According to Valerie at Garden Bits, "In the early part of the summer, the plants have huge numbers of buds, but they just contain seeds and do not bloom. This is called cleistogamy and I would assume the advantage is to make plenty of seeds with the least amount of energy. It's as if the plant is practicing making seeds before it gets down the superfluous activity of blooming."

I looked up "cleistogamy" in my Widget dictionary. It means "self-fertilization that occurs within a permanently closed flower."

I also found an OLD book online, A Textbook of Botany for Colleges and Universities (1911) that discusses cleistogamy on page 864. Otherwise, I didn't find any other references to confirm Valerie's observations and thoughts on cleistogamy specifically related to Brazilian rock roses. However, if ours blooms this summer, then THAT will certainly confirm it for me!

Has anyone ever heard of "cleistogamy"? New one on me!


Barbara said...

I just planted my first Pavonia & this is exactly what it is doing. I googled and found your article. I wonder if yours bloomed later or just skipped blooming? I'm not very patient, so it won't last long with me!!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Our has bloom buds right now....I'll have to keep an eye on it. Keep me posted on yours!

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