Sunday, 16 March 2014

It's all stamens and no style.

Here's a picture of home studio corner today.  Note the fabulous jug of Goo, which had contained my bog myrtle specimens in some sphagnum and peaty muddy water so it would feel at home -  had to take the specimens out to dry out but I can't bear to throw out the substrate in case there are marvellous life forms lurking in there.

Anyway today we're looking at the flowers of the marvellous Vachellia cornigera or Acacia cornigera or bullhorn acacia . There's my specimen in a jar behind the paintbox.

So the nice yellow rockets are the inflorescences, and each of these individual tufts is a flower. Hundreds of them.

Very very small, and slightly sticky, though inclined to jump into outer space if you come at 'em with a scalpel. Can't say I blame them.

Thing is, there are hundreds of the male parts, but I'm buggered if I can find the female parts. Look! And that's the tip of my scalpel blade there, so you get a sense of how big they are.

That little brown effort there at the top is some sort of dysfunctional ovary, I think....

and finally, a wee pod.  I went through a large part of that inflorescence and only found five or six amongst a hundred or thereabouts, whatever is going on there probably accounts for the very small fruit to flower ratio - you can see the fruits on this herbarium specimen from Kew.

Some jolly sketchbook guff for your viewing pleasure. I got very interested in thosesmall brown cups in between the flowers, I think they are probably trichomes of some sort. They start out as fishy scales covering the flower buds;

and persist on their stalks as trumpet-shaped structures after the flowers fall off.

The first attempt at a posh version of the dissection. I used a dip-pen with paint in it for the fine lines, which just weren't fine enough.

Traditional tiny paintbrush fared much better in the second attempt. Also ultramarine violet for darkening the yellow, very nice, made for lovely soft granular greys.

Soundtrack for today is TWiM #73: Eyeing Root Nodule Development , delightful to listen to although a bit disrupted by the Leith Emergency Services Symposium: "Coping with the Consequences of Poverty, Discrimination, Disenfranchisement and Alienation" which takes place outside my window every now & then. Happily I think everyone walked away from this one.

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