Dependent fruitheads

guy gusman ggusman at ULB.AC.BE
Wed Aug 13 11:04:11 CEST 1997

Of course, I don't know "what it means" but I noticed that it is a reliable
character. Some species, like A. consanguineum always bear nodding fruiting
peduncles when berries are ripening, sometimes starting almost immediately,
as you pointed out, sometimes later when berries are getting red. On the
other hand, i.e. A. concinnum has an erect fruiting spike even with red
Needless to say, when withering, both types of peduncles are falling down.
To be precise, we can speak of "up or down" orientations, erect or nodding.
As it is obviously of genetic origin - both types of behaviours respond to
some kind of deterministic programme - it is, of course one, among others,
interesting factor in sorting species. Up to now, I never noticed any
erratic behaviour in some species: their "orientation" doesn't depend on
growing conditions (in cultivation and in the wild, I always observed the
same orientation. Quite practical to distinguish at once A. consanguineum
from A. concinnum in the wild, when out of bloom!) or on temperature or on
soil content or...

>Would someone (Guy?) please talk about the significance of whether a healthy,
>enlarging seedhead is upright, upside-down, or at a 90 degree angle to the
>The subject has come up on another list (Alpine-L), and while I've responded,
>I really didn't know what to say.
>Are there certain species that do this consistently? Both A. candidissimum
>seedheads here this year have been upside down, starting almost immediately
>after pollination. A brown-spathed  consanguineum has a large seedhead
>sticking straight out parallel to the ground, again starting almost
>Is this characteristic being recognized as a factor in keying out species?
>Jim McClements

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