Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Question for the Hive Mind: weird Euphorbia milii thing

I got in some Euphorbia milii in the last round of tropicals (beginning of March), and found that one of them had a weird, deformed-looking . . . thing on it that I'd never seen before.

WCW and I suspect it may be a successfully-pollinated flower, but it's difficult to be certain, since 1) we've never seen a successful pollination before and 2) when I look at this, "successful" is not one of the words that comes to mind.

The overall plant in question.

It could also be some weird, crested-type growth. Something damaged, maybe. We do not know. (Between this and yesterday's Clarkia post, I expect that some readers are getting the impression that we don't know much of anything, at work. So not true. We're just having a little, um, dumb spell. It'll pass.)

Close-up of the weird thing. Picture will expand a great deal if opened in a new window.

If this is a successfully pollinated flower: what do we do with it? What do the seeds look like? How do we try to sprout them? Etc.


Anonymous said...

I've never seen one of these - and I've grown my share of the darn plants. Somehow they always promise more than they deliver and eventually get so lanky and unattractive that I toss them out. One thought/question - could this be some kind of insect damage, like a gall? Hard to imagine any insect dealing with them, given their unpleasant thorns, sap, etc. If it does turn out to produce seeds I wonder if they need abrasion (many of the desert plants' seeds get tumbled around during infrequent rains don't they?) We await more news on this peculiar thingy.

John de la Parra said...

I must say I can't tell for sure from the picture, but here's my stab. At first I thought this must be some kind of gall, and looking at the blown-up picture, this seems to be a fairly common genetic mutation that happens at the apical meristem called a fasciation or cristation, like the 'Cristate' forms of cactus. (It could in fact have been set off be a gall wasp, or an insect, midge or nematode!)

Try googling cristation or fasciation and you will see what I mean. Some really beautiful examples can be found.

With branching succulents or cactus, each branch has a growing point, and you can have these undifferentiated meristematic cells going haywire. They can form spines, branches or even flowers.

Anonymous said...

It's also possible that it is a successfully pollinated flower. But pollinated BY WHAT???? (cue creepy music)

Hmm, does Lovecraft have an eldritch god of plants?


Peter said...

I'd like to think you could get a number sequence from it that could take you to a new earth.

CherB said...

there was a post on a different website (one you've linked to in fact!) which shows somethign very similar growing on her aloe. Here is the link :

I think it looks very similar to the growth you have on your plant. If its mites, you might wanna trash the infected plants.