Thursday, July 22, 2010

Random plant event: Glycine max flowers

I'm finding it very difficult to organize the information I've collected for the Schlumbergera profile, so that's going to take a little longer than what I'd originally said. And frankly, the original deadline (yesterday) was pretty optimistic to begin with.

So is the new deadline (next Wednesday).

(UPDATE: It's finished.)

Meanwhile, did you know that soybean plants have flowers? They do! The flowers, like Ryan Seacrest, are small, pinkish, and not very interesting, but one can at least see why soybeans are classified in the pea family (Fabaceae), and get some sense of how the plant works.

The most surprising thing about this particular event is that I'd never seen it before. Living in Iowa, you'd think it would have come up before, but somehow (possibly due to my finding corn waaaaaaay more interesting than soybeans) I missed it.

I wouldn't have seen it this year, except that the field that begins where our back yard ends is planted in soybeans this year, instead of corn like last year. (I liked the corn better: more picturesque. Though the soy is looking a little better now that they've filled in a bit.)

This last photo is really big, should you want to open it in a separate window and see all the gory details.


Paul said...

"The flowers, like Ryan Seacrest, are small, pinkish, and not very interesting"

Yet these flowers are way cuter than he ever was/will be.

Liza said...

Hahahaha, that's a great post for my morning. Thanks, mr_s.

Joseph said...

Now think of all those poor people whose job it is to BREED soy beans. I've seen some of them at work. They literally lay in the dirt, with a huge magnifying glass thing on their head, peering at those tiny flowers trying to emasculate them with tweezers without destroying them. Corn is SO much easier.

James said...

And on the subject of why soybean breeding is not a fun job, after they've fertilized a soybean plant, even if they do everything perfectly they only get 2-5 seeds from the cross. Which makes things very different from corn where a single pollination can easily give you 100 seeds.

I wonder how many people in Iowa know what color soybean flowers are? Not too many at all I'd guess.

Anonymous said...

Don't soybeans have to have flowers to produce soybeans??

Isn't there something about the seed producing part of the common violet not being the pretty purple flower?

Aaerelon said...

Ha. Ryan Seacrest. She's so odd. I've only ever seen them when driving by. I thought they were white but it may have just been bright. Very pea-ish indeed.