Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aliens Have Landed In The Gardens!

Run for your lives! Aliens have landed in the Gardens and they've left a pod just bursting with baby aliens ready to kill us all!!!!!!

Umm. Uh, it really is just the fruit from our magnolia tree, magnolia grandiflora for those of you who speak Latin. However in a few days it may just be bursting with babies, well magnolia seeds that would turn into baby trees if we had the right conditions. Dr. Curtis was at the Gardens giving me some advice on the super secret garden I've been working on and we were admiring the magnolia when he says "How do you think that flower was polinated?" Easy answer, right? Bees! We had 500,726 of them buzzing around the gardens and those were just the ones I counted. There could have been more. WRONG. Wrong? Oh yeah, how about wind? WRONG. I give up. It seems that beetles polinate magnolia flowers. Magnolia trees are really old plants. According to the US Forest Service they showed up around 200 million years ago in the Mesesoic era which is before bees arrived on the scene. The magnolia flower is perfect. No, that doesn't mean white, fragrant and lovely, it means that both male and female parts of the flower are in one flower. So all a pollinator has to do is move a little pollen around and taa daa! Pollination has occurred. So what insect was around 200 million years ago? Beetles. It seems like magnolias found a good thing 200 million years ago and stuck with it. Here is what the Vanderbilt University website has to say about beetles and their role in pollinating magnolias, "Relatively unintelligent insects like beetles can potentially act as pollinators of this group." So you know what I'm thinking. "If beetles are unintellegent what are slugs?" A question for another day.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Oh right. Slugs are not insects. Duh. Get me out of the plant world and I'm lost.