Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Naked Bloganist goes down on hands and knees to bring you... EXPLORATIONS IN PLANT PORNOGRAPHY

Its 3am and I'm scanning plants. Why? Because I love how every time I lay a freshly plucked plant down on the bed of the scanner, it gives me a sexy clean look. I love the idea of enthralling others with my findings. So in keeping with that, I present...
Late Night Passions with Kinky Capitula and Floriferous froLickings...
Each innocent beauty bears a micro-surpise as I tear down the corolla to reveal the anatomy below. Bisexual, hermaphroditic, they all float my boat, baby! Its the thrill of looking through a microscope at a plant for the first time, knowing you're the only one to have examined this microscopic world of pubescent hairs and sensual cells.
All these divine beauties hail from ye little town of Tesslasdal, near the Hemel and Aarde (Heaven and Earth) valley, Hermanus.

 First an Amphithalea stripped bare for you to explore!
Spot the flower...
Helichrysum in full bloom, a mini cluster of even tinier flowers

Next, a Helichrysum with tiny flowers turns out to be a golden beauty.

Phaenocoma Prolifera
Phaenocoma prolifera showing its Helichrysum-like juvenile leaves in grey

 If science could sound sexy, this must be it. I'll never forget George Branch in first year zoology teaching us that 'ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny': the origin and development of an organisms reveals its developmental history. I accidentally came across this plant amongst amongst my specimens, and noticed for the first time the resemblance between the juvenile leaves of this Phaenocoma prolifera, and that of Helichrysum. Those juvenile leaves reveal its history of having Helichrysum- or Syncarpha-ike leaves in the distant past. A recent phylogeny reveals Phaenocoma to be sister to Metalasia and Lachnospermum. Do these plants also have juvenile leaves like these?

I love encountering Corymbium in the field. They are a total enigma - or are they?
Question 1: Monocot or dicot?? Parallel venation, grass-like... monocot.
WRONG! This is a dicot in, believe it or not, the daisy family. So what is going on with these most undaisy-like leaves? Eugene Moll believes they may be flattened leaf-stalks, the leaves having been lost long ago. I would love to see if the seedlings have proper leaves that recapitulate their phylogeny. Grrr!
Look at the base of the leaves above, and you will notice they are hairy. This is the tell-tale sign for a Corymbium. A group of more than 9 species confined to the SW Cape. Their leaves are splendidly different, some thick some linear, some long, some short, but always with a hairy base. So look at the subtle differences between the close up of the leaf on the left, and that of the right. Different species!

This is Euphorbia cf. silenifolia, and I just love the bizarre flowers that remind me of gecko feet. Oddly enough, this Euphorbia doesn't have milky latex.
Plant pornography... milky latex... it's definitely bed-time!

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