Saturday, July 19, 2008

Exotics in the alley

Like some sort of flying saucer: the passion fruit flower, Passiflora caerulea.

It is a strange, mis-matched collection of flower parts: 10 sepals and petals, intermingled, a ring of 70 to more than 100 deep blue filaments, a lime-green, pentagonal central area, then a "crown" of smaller, purplish filaments. The pistil is topped with a contraption made up of 5 green and yellow male organs in a flat circle, the developing fruit, and on top, a purple "propeller" with only 3 blades (the female organs).

In Strathcona, it has often gone wild, and climbs up and over rickety alley fences. The less care it gets, the more it seems to thrive. We found this one clambering over a pile of abandoned lumber and mingling with the branches of an unpruned apple tree.

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