Monday, May 11, 2009


Tulips are in bloom!

These are the red ones that came with the house. Yellow ones will bloom later. I am not sure why the yellow ones bloom later, but they do. Perhaps they remember being in my mom's garden, where the season was even shorter, and spring a couple of weeks later. I don't mind that they wait, since it means we have tulips in bloom even longer.

The above picture is a typical picture of tulips. But what I find fascinating about tulips is how thy look from above. I am always looking for the mutants. Mutants? Why, yes! How many petals do tulips have? The standard answer is "6". Well, actually, tulips have 3 petals and 3 sepals, but they looks so similar, that they are called "tepals". So, tulips usually have 6 tepals. But not always....

Do you see that tulip on the left? 8 tepals! And 8 stamens instead of 6, and the stigma in the center has 4 lobes instead of 3. If I let this tulip "go to seed", the capsule will be squarish, instead of triangular. Neat!

But not as neat as when things really go wrong. How about 7 tepals? The tulip in the bottom of the next picture has 7 tepals, 6 stamens, and a 4-lobed stigma. In the picture below that, is a tulip that also has 7 tepals, but there are 7 stamens, and a normal 3-lobed stigma.

I think is fun to find all the variations of wrong.


MiniKat said...

Pretty little mutants. ;-)

Mary said...

Variations of "unique-ness" I think! Spring lasted only several days down here. And the tulips disappeared about 2 months ago!