YOUNG WORLD

Strongly scented

From a single flower....

From a single flower....  

Strolling in a garden in Secunderabad, I was arrested by a powerful perfume from a flower. It was the Artabotrys odoratissimus (Manoranjitham in Tamil). The plant, has a solitary pendulous yellowish green flower with thick perianth members hanging like a bell from its hooked stalk. There was a cluster of fruits on another branch nearby. The was a cluster of fruits on another branch nearby and it had formed from a flower that had matured. How could this have happened?

In a majority of plants, the flower has a single ovary only. It may be formed from a single carpel or the union of many carpels. Depending on the number of carpels involved in the formation of the ovary, it is termed as monocarpellary, bicarpellary, tricarpellary and multicarpellary as the case may be. During development, the ovary ripens into the fruit. Whenever the flower produces only one ovary, there will be the formation of a single fruit from the flower. Mango, neem and coconut are common examples.In a few plants, the flower produces a number of free carpels resulting in the formation of free ovaries. The plant study in this article is an example. The flower is described as apocarpous with reference to the status of its ovary. The flower with apocarpous ovary produces many fruits in the form of a cluster.

In solitary splendour...

In solitary splendour...  

Look for other examples of plants, which produce a similar cluster of fruits from apocarpous flowers. You can refer to books on Plant Morphology. You may like to collect specimens an examine them to find out more.

Text and pictures by W.A.F. Hopper

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