Saturday, April 16, 2011

Carex Flowers are Fun

Video is available in full 1080hd by clicking where it says 360p

Here's a quick video of the flower head (inflorescence) of a sedge in the genus Carex. This is the genus that really gets us botanists excited. There are representatives of Carex genus in just about any habitat, natural or human created, in Ohio. Although I'm not sure what the exact number of species for Ohio is at the moment, I believe it's upwards of 160.

I believe this is Carex pensylvanica, but I'm going to have to wait a little bit for the fruits to mature. The long, slender white things you see are stigmas of the female flowers. They're on a pollen quest, and the gentle breeze really blows the inflorescences around, which I assume increases the chance that a tiny little pollen grain will land on a stigma and produce a fertile seed.

In this particular inflorescence, the male flowers towards the top end of the plant have not fully opened. The anthers are not yet extended, and therefore they aren't releasing pollen. I'm assuming that having the stigmas fully develop before the same plant's anthers are releasing pollen helps prevent self fertilization.

Many of our early sedge species, mostly those that grow in woods, have already flowered and have mature fruit. But don't worry, one can see different species of sedges flowering in the months of April and May. Many of these flowers are fascinating and truly under-appreciated.

So my challenge to you is, go find a few sedge flowers and point your macro lens at them- I think you'll find them incredibly interesting.


1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more about the sedge flowers! I've had a lot of fun this Spring photographing them with my macro lens. They really do deserve our attention and appreciation even if they are tiny and go largely unnoticed.