Plant Adaptations are Amazing

A friend mentioned that each of his garden corn plants has three stalks, likely because of temperature and rain fluctuations this season. Most plants are fixed in their environments but show exceptional capabilities of adaptation and procreation. Three examples come to mind.

Finding the environment and methods for wildflowers to grow in native grass is an ongoing challenge. Native buffalo grass matures at about 4 inches in height. The grass breaks dormancy late in spring, allowing space for wildflowers to germinate and grow too. These wildflowers are selected to mature less than a foot in height. Wildflower seeds were sewn directly on snow for moisture and cold seed treatment. Rainfall, though spotty, has been adequate for them to germinate and grow.

This favorite indoor begonia that grows with medium to lower light requirements was a gift that has been divided many times for friends. It’s the second example of adaptation. Begonias have above-ground modified stems called tubers for asexual reproduction and flowers and seed. Friends would receive a bit of tuber with a few leaves and stems to start their begonia. 

Wondering if the begonia would grow from leaves with stems,  eight large leaves, as shown, were planted in a pot that covered the surface of the potting mixture.

After three weeks, I parted the leaves and found many tiny begonia leaves with stems growing in the potting mixture. 

Tiny leaves were also forming on some of the mature leaf stems. 

In examining the root structure of the little leaves,  the potting mixture was filled with a solid mass of tiny root hairs. Using a knife, I divided a portion of the soil with new leaves to see if a new begonia planting would grow. Some gardeners divide and produce modified potato root tubers in various ways with productive results.

The third adaptation example concerns lettuce. Various kinds of leafy greens are a garden staple at our house. Spring has been unpredictable in this region’s temperature, moisture, and timing pattern. That impacts all plants as they grow. This tray of lettuce varieties was started indoors in potting mix, watered, moved outdoors, and has produced six cuttings. That is one more batch of lettuce than usual. Of course, having a mixture of lettuces ensures the growth of some plants as the environment changes. What garden staple production!

See how plants adapted.

What amazing plant adaptations have you discovered? How weeds grow is one for sure! See you next week Plant Exchange Blog.

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