Saturday, February 12, 2011
Once again, pipevine is in bloom at the UC Botanical Garden. On a tour at the Botanic Garden in Tilden recently, our docent told us that these flowers are different from others. Most flowers buds are covered in green sepals. By the time they open, the flowers are close to full-size. However, you can watch a pipevine flower develop from a little tiny nub. I looked closely and could find nothing that looked like sepals. I couldn't find normal flower parts. Then I tried a book. I don't do much research in books anymore, but sometimes I turn to Jepson or Munz. In this case I found that Aristolochia has no petals and no corolla. What we normally thing of flower parts are completely absent. When looking at the pipevine flower, you see fused sepals. Maybe that is part of the reason why it doesn't have bright colors, lovely scent or what I think of as a flower shape. This one is weird.