Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random plant event: Schefflera arboricola blooming

Here's one I never thought I'd see.


Technically, I don't know that this is a flower, but the few photos I was able to find on-line make me think that this is the very beginning of a developing flower spike on Schefflera arboricola. Not sure what cultivar; some yellow-variegated thing.

The weirdest part, though, is where I found it: a dark corner of the plant display in an Iowa City hardware store. (The Ace Hardware on Dodge St. in Iowa City, if you're in the area and want to gawk.) It looked like it had probably been there for a while, too, like this might have been the plant's way of keeping itself entertained while it waited to be purchased. Or maybe it's flowering 'cause it thinks it's going to die.


I don't know what it was thinking. I do know that this is the only time I've ever seen this, despite having met an awful lot of S. arboricolas, and I was impressed. Or confused. Or something.

I considered buying the plant, so I could watch and document the whole blooming progress, and if it had been anything other than a S. arboricola, I probably would have, but I'm just not a fan. I have one, because I wanted to give the species a chance, and it's done fine for me, but I don't need another. (I like S. actinophylla fine, though, and would buy another if it were doing something cool like this: I can't explain why actinophylla works for me and arboricola doesn't.) I feel mean for saying so, but that's why it didn't come home with me.


20 comments:

Plowing Through Life said...

That is pretty amazing. I've never seen this plant flowering. I'm not a big fan of it, though. Flowers or no flowers, I wouldn't be tempted to take it home. Not sure why it doesn't really appeal to me.

danger garden said...

WOW! Makes me wonder what the bloom on my much desired Schefflera taiwaniana might look like.

Liza said...

That's a first for me, too, so thanks for sharing. I have Scheffs all over town and none of them have ever bloomed. Maybe I should start ignoring them and see what happens!

Jon VanZile said...

That's crazy ... I live in zone 10B, where these things are used as hedge material and ubiquitous landscape plants, and I can't recall EVER seeing one flower. (Then again, most of them are trimmed into boxy little shapes, so you know, snip, snip flowers.)

I'm with you, though, about S. actinophylla, except they're an invasive species here.

Ginny Burton said...

Poor little thing! Sitting in a corner, dolling itself up, hoping someone will notice it and take it home and love it.

Brings back memories of high school dances.

Andrea said...

Hi Mr. Subjunctive. I had some good laugh reading your post. We have lots of Schefflera here in the humid tropics too, but i haven't seen the flower yet. From a non-variegated type, I've seen the ripe-yellow fruits once in a rather-far-away island, but missed the flowers. Yours look like another plant underneath the bush produced it, as if it is not a part of the plant. BTW, i love your writing the scientific names and cultivars correctly.

daphne said...

You know that if you bought it and moved it the flowers would wither.

Sometimes it's ok to let things be, where they are.

Like when you're hiking in an exotic locale (the hardware store?) and the local flora are just soooooo awesome, but you know that if you poached one it would just rob the ecosystem; you could never recreate cultural conditions- or if you did, you'd create a monster. So you let them be: take only photos, leave only memories.

But I suppose you could read up on how they pollinate, and approach the store about facilitating such, in hopes of taking a few seeds in return. If they can even self-pollinate.

- Daphne

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

I'm with Andrea. From the picture, it looks like the flower stalk is coming from somewhere under the Schefflera. I think you need to go back to the Ace Hardware and investigate the possibility!

mr_subjunctive said...

Andrea / Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ:

The pictures don't show it well, because I was trying to crop so as much detail of the flower itself was visible, but it really was coming from a plant. There were multiple plants in the same pot; only one was flowering. On the one that was flowering, there were no leaves for the first maybe 8 inches (20 cm), and leaves from the other plants in the pot partly covered that up, so it looks weird. But I did check to make sure that the flower was actually attached to a plant, and that the plant was bearing Schefflera leaves.

Christopher said...

I have one potted on my front porch in Oakland, CA. It stays outdoors year round. It has bloomed several times over the years. It seems to have bloomed when it became rootbound. The flower spikes are pretty insignificant and they attract aphids and ants. for this reason I will remove the buds in the future.

heather said...

I have had the same Schefflera for 30 years, lives outside in the summer, indoors in the winter and for the first time....ever....it has a bloom. So, you are not crazy...or I am living your crazy:)

stacy4855 said...

I have the same 'bloom' on my plant. I got the plant from my mother ... so no idea how old. It is about 6' tall - and the 'blooms' are on the top. There are about 6 of them ... noticed them about a week ago. I live in Northern Minnesota - and my plant is always inside. I'm waiting and watching ... The plant is a one stalk plant - so these are coming out of the top. Also wondering if it will grow anymore??

Anonymous said...

My schefflera is starting bloom too (first time I had seen one bloom). I rescued this standard 4 years ago from the "dead-dying plant" area of a nursery. I prune it to max of 5' tall with 3' of trunk and a 2' diameter leaf ball. Except that I repotted it 2 years ago I mostly ignore it, water once a week when I remember; it lives near a window but no direct sun; wintertime temps inside my house between 58 and 62.

AlmostThere said...

I was so glad to find your blog. I have several green arbicola in the garden and quite a few of them have decided to flower. I was trying to research this and can find very little. Mine have yellowy tendrils and tiny white, sweet scented flowers.
Some plants have been unpruned for about 5 months. The tendrils have died, turned black and form a loose black mass which incorporates a few dried leaves that must have been ensnared by the tendrils when they were growing. These stalks look unhealthy ... like the plant has given everything to reproduce and has nothing left!

Anonymous said...

I have one blooming now! Never seen one before myself.
11-14-12

Christi Crain said...

I just noticed this on one of mine that I planted in a box outside... it's been there since 2005, the base of it now is about 4 inches across... I trim it every year and I wish now I would have waited to trim the other side of it... it spans about 5 feet now - I live in Southeast Tx... I can't wait to see if it continues to bloom out - Im amazed it is actually a bloom!!! It definitely is from this plant... so no question about that!

David said...

Hello! Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I know you posted this a while back but I know in my heart that everyone is as fascinated by the things that happen to me as I am: my partner and I have had a Schefflera for years, maybe 10, and we liked it and then we were bored with it and wanted the pot for something else, and I mostly stopped watering it, kind of in the hopes that it would die, and instead it bloomed. So I think that's one vote for your imminent-death hypothesis. Anyway it's fruiting now! Or maybe those are the real blossoms that haven't flowered yet! Anyway it's even weirder than the little cone-flower thing. Maybe do you want a picture of it? I can email you.

Ethan Dow said...

I have this one for 10 years and it's blooming, flowering and fruiting. The bees love it! I had no idea what it was before finding this blog.
[URL=http://s532.photobucket.com/user/fissues/media/TTS/umbrellaflower_zps1e87da10.jpg.html][IMG]http://i532.photobucket.com/albums/ee324/fissues/TTS/umbrellaflower_zps1e87da10.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
[URL=http://s532.photobucket.com/user/fissues/media/TTS/umbrellafruit_zps5bcc939d.jpg.html][IMG]http://i532.photobucket.com/albums/ee324/fissues/TTS/umbrellafruit_zps5bcc939d.jpg[/IMG][/URL]


Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

We have had this plant for a long long time and now it looks like it is about to bloom. Never seen one before til now. Thanks for this site

Susan said...

I but mine in the ground 13 years ago and this is the 3rd year for it to "bloom". It creates red berries. I can send a picture of the berries to anyone interested.