Nov. 2, 2017

mullein pink, Silene coronaria

If you like science, you've got to like Silene. These species adapted a range of reproductive strategies. Some have flowers with both sexes, some with them on separate plants, and some have self-fertilizing female flowers. Those last ones get us into mitochondrial DNA issues. Mitochondria, small organs within cells, contain DNA that enables many cellular functions. Some Silene species have the largest known mitochondrial genome. This DNA is passed on to next generations only from the female, since pollen cells do not contain mitochondria. Some presumably self-fertilized species contain DNA that disables male development. According to Wikipedia, Selene have also been used to study ecology, evolutionary biology, speciation, host-pathogen interactions, species invasion, adaptation to heavy metal soils, and other genetic issues. On top of all that, many have beautiful flowers. Mullein pinks now have been found in AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, BC, NB, NS, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 6/15/11.