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523 Views 1 Reply Last post: Apr 24, 2012 4:16 PM by Jen RSS
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Apr 23, 2012 12:09 PM

Is this a new type of Bluebell?

Hi

I have been very impressed with this website and the answers on this board and I am wondering if you could help me identify this unusual flower. I have a number of them growing under a clump of Cherry trees along with other bluebells. Is this some new type of bluebell? Thanks for any help and advice given. Graham

Hairybluebell.JPG

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    Apr 24, 2012 4:16 PM (in response to graham)
    Re: Is this a new type of Bluebell?

    Hi,

    these are unusual!

    It is hard to determine from your pic where exactly the base of the leaflike structures are positioned in relation to the base of the flowers.

    If they are positioned at the base of the flowers like the blue pointed bracts as seen in this pic - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a8/Hyacinthoides_non-scripta_(Common_Bluebell).jpg/220px-Hyacinthoides_non-scripta_(Common_Bluebell).jpg then they could well be bracts.

     

    The reason they have developed to look like leaves rather than bracts is most likely due to the "wrong" gene being expressed during the development of the bract primordia. This isn't as odd as it might sound... bracts are modified leaves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bract

     

    While the genes which code for bract development will be different from those coding for the development of leaves, the leaf genes are still present in the cells they originate from. If this scenario is the case then the likelihood is that for some reason the sequence of gene expression in these organs has taken the pathway leading to leaf not bract.

     

    The individuals at the back of your picture show relatively normal bract development except that they are green not blue as seen with the single green bract in this pic, http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/surrey/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_8634000/8634448.stm

     

    Why the bract development has reverted to leaf development in these individuals is very hard to tell. It may be a random mutation which means the gene for bract is not "readable" anymore or it could be due to some environmental factor, or, indeed, both.

     

    If the leaf like structures are not associated with the flowers, i.e. emerging at the base of the individual flower stems, then that is an even more interesting, and puzzling, scenario!

     

    I do hope that has helped rather than confused... If you'd like to clarify anything please let me know...

    Jen

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