Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday stress!

Think that you're having some holiday stress??? Look at this Eucodonia 'Adele'. Notice at the center of the picture there is a green structure right at the base of the spent blossom stalks that looks like a rhizome. It's the little green pine cone shaped thing. That's a propagule.

The Biology site tells us that a propagule is a structure with the capacity to give rise to a new plant, for example a seed, a spore, or a part of the vegetative body capable of independent growth if detached from the parent.

If that little pine cone shaped structure was taken off of the stem of the plant and put into some potting mix it would grow just like a rhizome and produce another plant. It's not exactly like a seed, it would produce an identical copy of the parent plant. And, it's not exactly like a rhizome because they are produced underground. These propagules are usually made by the plant when times are tough and the plant feels environmental stresses. Sometimes they might just show up on a plant that otherwise doesn't outwardly seem to be in difficulty, but in this poor Eucodonia's case it thinks that the holidays might be better if they were to bring the gift of repotting and reliable moisture.

What plants have you ever seen this happen on? Have you tried planting the propagule? Has anyone else enjoyed the Eucodonias? I happen to think that they're a very easy and interesting plant to grow. Pretty forgiving of inconsistent horticultural practices too! As always, send a photo in so that we can talk about it!

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