A. candidissimum pollination

Jim McClements, Dover, DE z6 JimMcClem at AOL.COM
Sun Jun 24 15:43:35 CEST 2001

In a message dated 6/24/01 8:07:16 AM, dam7 at CDC.GOV writes:

<< Am I seeing both male and female parts on the same flower or do I need to

look with a more discerning eye?  I thought I had found just a male flower

yesterday but it had just rained and so I could not tell if pollen had

fallen to the base of the flower when I inserted the brush.



Although A. candidissimum is said to be dioecious (unisex)(I always have to
think!), I have seen inflorescenses with flowers of both sexes. This seems to
occur in younger plants that are making the transition from male to female,
and decide to be bisexual for a year or two!

I have the feeling that this occurs more often than is generally thought, and
may explain some of the apomixis ("immaculate conception") episodes that have
occasionally been reported. It only takes a few male flowers on the spadix to
produce pollen, and these can be easily overlooked or thought to be "neuters".

Of course, a few arisaema species are monoecious (notably tortuosum & fla
vum). They start as male and then become bisexual permanently.

Newcomers to arisaema growing will be interested in some of the material in
the archives and in the reference library about the strange sex lives of the
genus. The term often used is 'paradioecious'.

Jim McClements

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