Flowers on plants with rhizomes - why?

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by Lizainmm, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Lizainmm

    Lizainmm Active Member

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    Just a question that I'm sure someone here can answer for me.
    What is the purpose of the flower on a plant that multiplies through rhizomes? I have many wild lilies and have never seen a seed pod, after the withering of the flower.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Propagating by rhizomes is asexual reproduction whereas by flowers is (typically) sexual (and therefore a new genetic makeup in the progeny).

    Here are a couple reasons why propagating by rhizomes might be part of a successful strategy for survival:

    • the larger the mass of plants in a single location, the greater the likelihood of a pollinator finding the patch (for sexual reproduction)
    • the local area already is suitable for the plant to be successful to flowering stage, so it should exploit it maximally with additional propagules

    So, why produce a flower? This gets in to the advantages of sexual reproduction (or a more textbook answer). Among the many reasons applicable to plants: local conditions might change, and a slightly different genetic makeup may be more suitable -- say a slightly more shade-tolerant progeny may be better than a sun-requiring parent for an area after an area starts to become shaded.

    There may be a few reasons your plant isn't producing seed: it's a sterile hybrid (can even occur with wild plants!) or it is lacking the correct pollinator or it needs to cross with another genetically-distinct individual, and so on.
     
  3. Lizainmm

    Lizainmm Active Member

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    Thank you for your informative answer. My lilies, although wild, must surely be sterile. I transplanted them from a field to my yard many years ago (30km from Ottawa). Commonly referred to as ditch lilies, in a condescending tone, I find them beautiful and believe that they would be prized, if they did not grow in such great numbers. Read the first link and working through the second.
     
  4. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  5. mississippimills

    mississippimills New Member

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    Thank you, Salt cedar. I followed your link and the Kwanso is definitely what I have. Now I'm wondering if this plant was named before, or after this mutation? Is there an un-mutated Kwanso?
     
  6. pyjstein

    pyjstein New Member

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    Re: Flowers on plants with rhizomes- Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore Pleno' vs. var. kwanso

    Even though Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore Pleno' & Hemerocallis fulva var. kwanso are phylogenetically very distinct & separate (see the below-attached phylogenetic tree), they are often visually confused with each other -- due to both being double-petalled & similarly-coloured.

    For instance, the photos shown on the supplied Dave's Garden link for Hemerocallis 'Kwanso' [sic: non-accepted name -- **see further below for an elaboration] are actually a mix of H. fulva 'Flore Pleno' & H. fulva var. kwanso images. And the highlighted image "Picture #36" on that linked page actually shows H. fulva 'Flore Pleno' -- not H. fulva var. kwanso.

    Here are 2 representative photos of Hemerocallis fulva var. kwanso from the Pacific Bulb Society -- taken in: Japan (by Mari Kitama) & Texas USA (by Justin Smith).

    Below are some quick ways to differentiate between the flowers of Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore Pleno' & H. fulva var. kwanso. See 'Double Daylily of the Roadside' (Transatlantic Gardener - 27 Jul 2013) for more details.

    • 'Flore Pleno' (triploid) -- more petals (15-18 nos.), petals have distinctly-recurved tips, more neatly & symmetrically arranged (esp. when viewed from the top)
    • var. kwanso (triploid) -- fewer petals (7-12 nos.), petals somewhat irregularly curly, rather "untidy" arrangement

    ** As for the plant names, although Dave's Garden (a community gardeners' portal) states Hemerocallis 'Kwanso' as the plant's accepted name (implying that the plant is a selected mutation or sport derived from the human cultivation of an unspecified/unknown Hemerocallis species), note however that the botanically-accepted & recognized name is Hemerocallis fulva var. kwanso -- as indicated by professional botanical/ horticultural taxonomical databases like USDA GRIN Taxonomy, eFloras (Harvard University) & Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) UK.


    As you can probably tell from the scientific names, the parent species or "unmutated" form of both Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore Pleno' & H. fulva var. kwanso is Hemerocallis fulva -- a diploid plant with standard single petals. The species itself is native to Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Japan, Korea & much of China.

    Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore Pleno' is a triploid hybrid created by American botanist & daylily hybridizer Arlow Burdette Stout (1876-1957) & registered in 1917. The plant was reportedly introduced to the European mass market by Veitch & Son (now Veitch Nurseries).

    Hemerocallis fulva var. kwanso is a wild triploid variety first identified in 1860. A formal botanical description & colour illustration of the plant were validly published in 1866 (Gartenflora 15:66, 1866) by German botanist Eduard August von Regel (1815-1892). This variety is believed to have arisen from natural mutation amongst wild populations of Hemerocallis fulva in China, whereby flower stamens were modified into additional flower petals.

    Being a triploid plant, the flowers of H. fulva var. kwanso are sterile with hardly any or no viable pollen. So the plant can reproduce itself only by asexual/ vegetative means -- namely outward spread via runners/ stolons, & occasionally by proliferations (offsets from flower stalks). Under human cultivation, this variety can be propagated by other asexual means like clump division & tissue culture.

    Hemerocallis fulva is also the parent species of several other varieties & cultivars, such as:

    • H. fulva var. angustifolia -- diploid
    • H. fulva var. rosea -- diploid
    • H. fulva var. sempervirens -- diploid
    • H. fulva 'Europa' -- triploid cultivar (A.B. Stout, registered: 1920)
    For reference, the attached graphic shows the phylogenetic classification of some of the known H. fulva varieties & cultivars. [Source: McGarty, T.P. Phylogenetics, DNA, Classification and the Genus Hemerocallis. June 2008, pp 45.]
     

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  7. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Now you can see why I didn't reply. ;-)
     
  8. mississippimills

    mississippimills New Member

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    Thank you Pyjstein. It took a while to get through all that information/links.
    Since my flowers average ten petals, many with ruffled edges, I will assume that they are var. Kwanso.
     
  9. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Day lilies seem to get complicated--they've been cultivated in China for a long time and of course they spread vegetatively, so it's easy to produce replicates of a nice-looking plant.

    The broad question of why plants that spread vegetatively (rhizomes, stolons, "pups") also produce seed may partly a matter of hedging bets. Seeds get carried around by wind, gravity, or animals that eat them, and there's always a small chance of landing in a desirable new spot. Seeds sometimes lack viruses that affect parent plants. Seeds are also (usually) not genetically identical to their parents, which might be beneficial. Sex wouldn't be so prevalent if its results weren't beneficial.

    Here in Florida, recent research at Archbold Biological Station looked into the longevity of saw palmettos (Serenoa repens), which spread vegetatively, with their stems creeping across the ground and occasionally dividing. The stems don't last especially long, dying or being burned, but ages of palmetto clones can be estimated by by obtaining genotypes from many growing stems in a large experimental plot, and estimating how long it took for each genotype to spread, based on estimated rates of growth. The results show that some palmetto clones may be thousands of years old. Perhaps some germinated when mastodons and ground sloths still wandered Florida--such old ages for shrubs have been found in the past, with species like creosote bush in the southwestern US. Yet saw palmettos produce lots of viable seeds, consumed by bears and various other animals.
     

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