Jan. 5, 2020

Ho hum, close again

Ho hum? Not if you have to enjoy complexity and endless variation. Yesterday's pussytoes blog showed all those orange or brown projecting stamens. Here we have a New England aster, white variety. Members of the aster genus do it differently. The ray flowers only have pistils. Here you can see them as a kind of fuzzy ring around the base of the center disk. They look like they've already collected plenty of pollen. The disc flowers are what botanists call perfect. They have both pistils and stamens. Those projecting yellow spears are pistils, surrounded at their bases by a tube made of stamens. The whole thing, about an inch across, produces seeds, one per flower. Aster family flowers try all sorts of arrangements, with perfect flowers, or some one sex or the other, or with sexes on separate plants. It all works in endless variation throughout the living world. Fascinating, whatever the scale?! How can it not be? That variation got us to where we are.