Thursday, January 27, 2011
A botanical study...
The cycle of a flowering gum
As you might have noticed, I've recently developed quite an interest in flowering gum trees. There are sooooo many varieties of Eucalypt and right now is the perfect time of year to study them :)
I went back to the local reserve where I originally gathered the branches for my flowering gum print, and managed to find examples of every single stage in the flowering process. I found it interesting that one single branch can exhibit many of the different growth stages at the same time. So it was easy to gather examples of each for a shoot!
The cycle of a flowering gum - from operculum to bud of stamen to gumnuts
(view the full sized version here!)
So here's how it works! In this variety, the flowering cycle starts with a cluster of "opercula" that begin quite small and grow to approx 2-3cm in length. Each operculum is essentially a little cap, and inside are clusters of stamen (This is where the Eucalypt gets its name - Eucalypt translates to "well covered").
Over time the stamen expand and force the caps off.* Some flowering gums just feature a single bud, whereas this species features a cluster of buds so the end result looks like a whole sphere of pretty stamen.
Once the flower begins to die, the stamen drop off, leaving beind just the cup shaped base - which lo and behold - become gumnuts!
*I remember when we were little we'd find those really long pointy ones on the ground that we'd put on the ends of our fingers and pretend to be witches with long fingernails ;)
So yeah, isn't that interesting??
And of course I couldn't leave you withour a sneak peak of the new Flowering Gum print finally on fabric :) It'll be in the shop soon!
Flowering Gum in Red Orange and Stone