Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Canarina Flowers and Fruits

Canarina canariensis fruit in April.
At this point in spring, the Canarina canariensis plants have folded up shop for the season; all of their stems and leaves have withered away and all that is left is the root tubers that will rest underground until September or so. I did get some fruits by pollinating the flowers. These are reported to be edible, so I tried them out when they ripened in early spring. The fruits aren't especially tasty: bland and mealy, with a flavor a little bit like figs.

Canarina flower in its female phase.
The Canary Bellflower seems to be self-incompatible, i.e., it needs to be cross pollinated by something that transfers pollen between two separate plants. The flowers are also strongly protandrous, meaning that they shed pollen right after opening, but the female parts only mature later. In order to get fruits and seeds in the greenhouse, I moved pollen from young flowers onto older flowers, where the stigma had opened up into a pale star-shaped structure and become receptive.

I saved some seeds from this year's Canarina fruits and may start some more in the autumn. In any event, the several pots of mature tubers that I have in the greenhouse should become active when the nights get cool and the days short, and provide another round of gaudy blooms during the depths of winter 2013-2014.

1 comment:

Julie said...

How neat that you can help these beauties reproduce! Love the flowers!