Sunday, February 15, 2009

Random plant event: Polyscias fruticosa fruits

This one actually happened a long time ago; sometimes ideas for posts have to wait until I'm really desperate for something to post about before I can get to them. It's not that this wasn't an interesting event, it's that it seemed like it would be a long, picture-heavy post.

Anyway. So the story begins with us getting in a large Polyscias fruticosa maybe about a year ago. Nice-looking plant. And then it budded:

And flowered:

The budding and flowering, by the way, are still happening, despite starting eight months ago; this is apparently a plant that can flower whenever it likes.

I then found a seed pod on it, which I thought was weird, and which probably was on the plant before we got it, because it seemed too old to have developed on its own in the four months since arriving:

The "pod" was hard, sort of kind of like a nutshell (though not as tough as that). I tried planting it, the whole thing all together, but nothing happened with that, so either the shell needs to be cracked, or they take a really long time to germinate, or this particular one was a dud, or . . . well. It could have failed for a lot of reasons. Anyway. That's all what's happened so far. What this post is about is the stuff that happens between the flowering and the pod.

Late last November, I found this (open in new window to enlarge):

Unlike the possible "seed pod," this was slightly squishy (the approximate size and texture of a smallish blueberry). Both intrigued and impatient, I removed it:

And then poked at it gently with my fingers, at which point it did this:

So then, figuring I had nothing to lose, I poked at it less gently, and got this:

Which you can kind of see, in the leftmost part of this picture, a fairly clear image of two seedlike things.

So I cleaned the seedlike things as best as I could, and planted them in some vermiculite we were using to start some African violet (Saintpaulia) cuttings, and that also has failed, apparently. Or takes a really long time, or whatever.

So the moral of the story, I think, is that even if your Polyscias fruticosa kicks all kinds of ass and flowers and fruits and stuff, getting seedlings is a whole new level of difficulty. On the plus side, if you're lucky enough to have a plant that's doing that, you should have a pretty never-ending supply of opportunities to try. The real growers propagate Polyscias from stem cuttings (which doesn't sound that easy either, by the way), instead of seeds, which might mean that seeds are more trouble than they're worth. But still, it's always nice to see plants doing what they would normally do, even if it doesn't lead to seedlings.

1 comment:

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

"A flower can do anything it likes"

just like a woman's prerogative? Sometimes flowers bloom too early, the cold weather comes back, and we get no fruits.

I think, it is the weather that does what she likes. Last Thursday, we had 32.4 degrees C. On Sat, we had 18 degrees. Poor plants.