Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Variability


Variability within a plant species can be caused by environment or genes. These differences are all in the genes since they are within a few feet of each other in my garden. A few years ago, I was given a start of a double white columbine. The first picture is of the original plant.

The second picture is the closest plant to it in my garden today. It's not quite double but the spurs are long.


The third picture is of another grandchild of the original columbine. Instead of double, there are four layers of petals and hardly any spurs at all.


The fourth picture is of another grandchild which decided to have no spurs like her distance cousin, but also to add several more layers of petals and turn pink.

The decision now is whether to let these plants cross-breed and see what happens or to pluck the blossoms of the ones I don't want to prevent cross-fertilization. It may even be too late to prevent pollenation. And which plants don't I want? I like the dainty shape of the long-spurred white one, but the crazy pink layered one is attractive in its own frilly overdone way.

2 comments:

Lucy said...

Yay! What a fabulous "problem" to have -- keep the pretty ones vs. keep the pretty ones!

Jordana said...

Those are all so lovely. I would have no ability to choose which to keep and which not to. I only had one of the three columbines I planted last year survive. I think the vinca I have to cover the ground and crowd out the weeds, crowded out the other ones and any babies too. Which makes me sad, but I do like vinca in places where I can contain it.