Flower Celebration

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  A lovely tradition of celebrating diversity (Oslava Květin) was started by Norbert Čapek, a Czech Unitarian, in 1923, with flowers as symbols of the universality of nature and ecumenical love. Start your own flower celebration in your home, for every business meeting, with your customers, sharing the beauty of flowers – especially this time of year: this “lusty month of May” (from Camelot). Everyone bring a flower! Here are a few floral fineries from my home and neighbors.

  The cover image for this bygl-alert is a fern funneled around Lamium purpureum, purple dead nettle. What an insider treat!

  Next, the flowers of hornbeam maple (Acer carpinifolium), a floral follow-up to the leaves shown in the http://bygl.osu.edu/node/718 alert.


Hornbeam maple flower chain
Hornbeam maple flowers


Hornbeam maple foliage, stipules, flowers, and fruits
Hornbeam maple foliage, stipules, flowers, and fruits


  If maples flower, can oaks be far behind? We sometimes forget that male oak flowers are quite showy in mass. Here on volunteer pin oaks (Quercus palustris) in my back yard, are emerging leaves and male flowers (catkins).  Male flowers form on last year’s stems while female flowers form on new stems on the same plant (oaks are monoecious = one house). For pin oaks and other red oak species the fruit of their labors, the acorn, takes two years to develop. There is a poem there somewhere.  Something like…  

Old stems and new

Who knew who knew

Acorns in two

On red oaks are due.   


pin oak catkins and leaves
Pin oak catkins and leaves


pin oak canopy
Pin oak canopy


  Now let’s look at a few flower buds that may test your plant ID skills.  First, is a flower bud (is it male or female?) from a native tree in the ChatScape.  I have never noticed this before, so I am interested in what opens up. One thing I know is I need another tree, for American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are dioecious (“two houses”) normally, and I will need both a male and female persimmon to end up with fertilization and fruiting.


Persimmon flowers
Persimmon flower buds


  Then there is the flower buds of a non-native tree, Styrax japonica. These will burst forth into downward starbursts of white flowers soon. This Japanese snowbell took a year off in my yard last year, but has loads of buds this year. 


Japanese snowbeall flower buds
Japanese snowbell flower buds


  Finally, following my last springtime alert for Ohio, is a reminder of Strawberry Fields Forever. It will not be long now: Not only are the wild strawberries flowering in my front yard, but so are the Rittman Orchard’s strawberry (Fragaria) crop just past my backyard.


strawberry plants and flowers
Rittman Orchard strawberries


WIld strawberries
Wild strawberries in the ChatScape


A question often asked about strawberries is “why are the seeds growing on the outside of the fruit when fruits are defined as ovaries that ripen around the fertilized eggs that become seeds?” Well, it turns out that the sweet “fruits” of strawberries are actually not fruits, but rather the swollen receptacles (flower and fruit stalks of strawberries) to which flower parts of the strawberry were attached. The one-seeded dry, seed-like true fruits of strawberries on the outside of the swollen receptacles are what casual observers, like me, thought were seeds.  

Finally, one last example for this Flower Celebration, another Rosaceae member from the genus Prunus: Sweet cherries at the Rittman Orchards are now growing from the spent flower stage to the developing fruit stage in northeast Ohio.  


sweet cherry spent flowers and developing fruit
Sweet cherries spent flowers and developing fruit