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Archive for June 4, 2011

Pink Lady’s Slippers Blooming

The mere sight of a lady’s slipper takes your breath away, but when you become aware of their germination process, and what it takes to produce a plant, they become even more of a wonder. According to Jack Sanders, in The Secrets of Wildflowers, the seed of a lady’s slipper is extremely small, and has no food to provide it with sustenance. However, there is a certain fungus (Rhizoctonia sp.) that can digest the outer cells of a lady’s slipper’s seeds. If this fungus and a lady’s slipper seed come in contact with each other, and if the fungus digests the outer cells of the seed but not the inner cells, and if the inner cells absorb some of the fungus’s nutrients that it obtained from the soil, then germination may take place. Given all these conditions, it’s a wonder that there are as many of these beauties in our woodlands as there are!