Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Plant Mutation - Fasciation

Every so often, gardeners find a deformed-looking flower or stem that appears as if the plant has bulked up on steroids. The stem or flower stalk will appear somewhat squashed and splayed, sometimes splitting in two or more sections. Or it may appear that two or more stalks have merged together to form one distorted structure. This odd growth is called fasciation, which literally translates to banding or bundling. Fasciation is thought to be caused by a hormonal imbalance. In some cases, this imbalance could be a random genetic mutation or, in other cases, induced by one or more environmental factors, including bacteria, fungi, virus, insects, frost and physical damage to the growing point.

This fasciated flower of Pow Wow Wild Berry coneflower. Photo by Gary Bachman - LINK
Saguaro fasciation at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by cunningba on Flickr
Fasciated daisy. Photo by trish red on Flickr
A fasciated blossom of a Black-Eyed Susan. Photo provided by Charlie Zapolski of Saugus, Mass. - LINK
Wyethia helianthoides or Mule's Ear Wildflower showing fasciation - LINK
Blue Candle, Blue Myrtle Cactus, or Garambullo (Myrtillocactus geometrizans) fasciation - LINK
Crested saguaro north of Phoenix - LINK
Euphorbia Fasciation - LINK

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