Thursday, August 31, 2006

Several hundred kilometers later...

Okay, I'm back from a temporary leave of weblog-absence (or leave of my senses, maybe) during 2 weeks of fine weather during which Peony seeds were ripening while I spent my time shuffling the winter's finally-dry firewood into the basement and beating up all sorts of paved local roads on my bike, in search of "a few good hills".

In the Annapolis Valley the fragrance of Queen Anne's Lace has given way to those of various livestock manures. Clears the sinuses anyways.

A week ago, and 3 weeks later than the high-altitude form, the "normal" Paeonia steveniana carpels opened. This is one of them. No different, just not in such a rush to mature.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another interesting set of Peony seeds

This is Paeonia tomentosa, which was the very earliest to bloom. So far only one set of carpels has opened. This set had three, the lower two opened four days before the upper one, which is just opening in the photo.

What is curious about this one is that fertile seeds are a fleshy semi-opaque purpley red (almost jellybean-ish) when the carpel first opens-- as in the uppermost one-- look closely and you can see that some of the seeds are fully oval and large while others (the aborted ones) are flatter and smaller, as in the lower 2 carpels. After a few days the jellybeans darken to black and take on a harder look. But there are still some segments of red on some of those seeds. This is the first species in which I've seen the fertile seeds change colour so dramatically after the carpels open.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

And again more Peony seeds

Two fairly similar-looking carpel and seed clusters. The red "berries" are seeds which aborted, or stopped developing partway through their growth; the black ones are the viable seed. Unfortuantely my camera doesn't do a good job with the red ones; they are really a bright red rather than the pinkish tone seen here.

Paeonia triternata seed and carpels.

Paeonia caucasica seed and carpels.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A few more Peony seed carpels

Yes, I'm still here off and on between bike rides... One of the pleasures of the countryside at this time of year is the marvelous scent of massed flowers of the biennial Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot) where it has populated ditches or abondoned fields.

Carpels and the shiny jet-black seed of Paeonia anomala var intermedia. The seed is weakly attached and can be knocked to the ground by a heavy rain; this is not the case with most species.

Carpels and seed of Paeonia veitchii. The seeds are distinctly blueish when fresh but will often change to black when dried for a few months.