20 May 2013

Today's reason plants are amazing

While walking to the bus stop last week, I happened upon this lovely example of a wicked cool plant breeding system. Allium (onion) undergoes a form of vegetative apomixis (reproduction without sex) in which little plantlets form where flowers have bloomed. The picture shows an onion growing wild on a North Carolina roadside. The long squiggly line on the bottom right is the scape, or stem which supports the inflorescence (group of flowers). I'm holding the inflorescence, which has a few small and one REALLY BIG plantlet growing out of it. These can become individual plants. Remember that in the case of onion, there are bulbs growing below ground which are also producing little bulblets, which is another form of vegetative reproduction.

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