Sunday, August 12, 2012

Curious Seeds

I haven't had much to post about this season, or maybe just lacked the motivation. Today's break from habit is due to a mystery or curiosity of sorts.

A bit of background: over the past couple of years I have finally had two plants of Paeonia anomala f. alba flower (mind you, not from seed labelled as having been collected from that form). One was planted in a flower bed, the other remained in it's pot but was relocated to sit next to the first, to enhance the chance of white on white cross-pollination assuming the bees to be uncooperatively colourblind. Well, that was the plan.

As it happened, last winter was disgustingly warm, with sparse snow. As a result, the plant which was in the ground never got it's roots cold enough to make it decide to flower, while the plant in the unprotected, uninsulated pot experienced the colder unmodified temperatures, much more to it's liking (it's a Siberian species) and did flower again. So, no white on white crossing, just the chance of self-pollination or crossing with a normal pink-flowered anomala, a few of which were in the 10-20m distance range from it.

And, there was seed set, a first for my white anomalas (I often find that peonies do not set seed in their first year of flowering; after all, a plant that lives for decades needn't be in a great hurry to reach full fertility).

Earlier this week, I noticed that the carpels had opened and went to collect the seeds. Well, they're brown! as opposed to the usual shiny black which graces anomala. The photo shows the half dozen of seeds from the f. alba plant, and one black ringer which is from a normal anomala.

It will be interesting to see what emerges from this small sample of seeds, but it'll be about 2017 or later before they flower. Not sure I'll see it!

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