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621 Views 6 Replies Last post: Aug 26, 2014 8:07 AM by TRW RSS
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Aug 20, 2014 9:27 AM

Plant identification

Photos of the stock-like plant, 1 and 2, were taken on a road verge in Bottisham, Cambridge - likely not wild?

Photo 3, at an Oxfordshire marsh.

ID help appreciated.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 20, 2014 9:51 AM (in response to TRW)
    Re: Plant identification

    1 & 2. Saponaria officinalis

    - http://delawarewildflowers.org/plant.php?id=1796

     

    3. ...not coming to me...

    (good chance Jen will get it, and post here before I do!)

     

    Mike

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 20, 2014 1:12 PM (in response to TRW)
        Re: Plant identification

        I've answered your other question.

         

        Mike

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 20, 2014 7:33 PM (in response to TRW)
        Re: Plant identification

        Hello again!!

        For plant 3, I am sure it is in the Lamiaceae - Deadnettle - family. Beyond that I was, like you Mike, stumped. However a quick Google search came up with Marsh Woundwort - Stachys palustris - as a probable candidate. The sessile leaves, general hairiness, pinkish relatively small bracts sudtending the flowers and typical star shaped calyx tips along with the distinctive leaf veination would support the id, but hopefuly someone who knows the plant will confirm it for you...

         

        An interesting factoid for you regarding the Saponaria flowers you have posted... They are infected with an anther smut fungus - Ustilago violacea - to be exact. A facinating fungus in that it can force the female plants of such species as Silene dioica - which have either entirely male or entirely female plants - to form stamens. The formation of the female reproductive organs - the carpels - initiates but is aborted before the organs are fully formed. The fungus then develops it's spores in the anthers in place of the pollen normally found there. The spores are picked up by any pollinating insect and transmitted to a new host. The fungus becomes systemic in the new plant and from then on most of the flowers of that plant will be fungal spore factories for the fungus. The fungus does allow some of the flowers of the host plant to reproduce normally to ensure future hosts... As any good parasite should...

        I find it utterly bizarre and deeply fascinating that a fungus can biochemically hijack a plants development of it's flowers and switch on and off the pertient genes for the right organ development in the female plants... A plant geek to the bone ;-)

         

        Cheers,

        Jen

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