mutant primrose

I’m almost ready to blame this freaky mutant on fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi reactor disaster.

On my way to the office, several times a week, I walk past a cultivated patch of Hooker’s evening primrose, Oenothera elata. A few days ago I noticed this mutant crested growth on the central growing point on one of the plants. I’ve noticed this crested growth pattern in the garden a few times, most recently on a euphorbia. But this is the first time I’ve noticed it on a primrose–or any other local native plant for that matter.

In a case of crested growth, the growing tip on a stem, the apical meristem, changes from a single growth point to a growth all along a broad line of cells. As the cells along the line grow, the plant forms a fan-shaped growth instead of a slender stem.

In this second photo you can see a normal stem to the right for comparison: slender normal stem, big fat mutant stem.

And here you can see the crested stem from the side and how it widens as it rises.

Pretty weird, huh?

7 thoughts on “mutant primrose”

  1. Weird! The poor plant does the best it can under the circumstances, still blooming, look at all theose buds. I had an Artemesia that did that once and it was freakish. Ain’t easy being green sometimes.

  2. Very odd – I’ll pass it on to some plant nerd friends here to see if they’ve heard of such a thing on that species!

    Here, some mesquites (only planted, none in the wild) grow some funky seed pods that are totally deformed, with weird insects crawling out of them!!

  3. I have observed this most frequently on “Pride of Madeira” (Echium candicans) where the growth was almost a foot wide. At pruning and cleaning time after bloom (Hazmat gear required) there were several such growths.

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