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Beauty of Flowers

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July 23, 2013
Being a horticulturist means I really enjoy plants. Let's take a close look at some of the marvelous flowers found in our landscape and garden. In an earlier Southern Gardening segment we enjoyed the delicate blue flowers of the aptly named blue butterfly plant. In this segment, I would like to share some other interesting flowers. One of the most unique flowers I know belongs to the Mississippi Medallion winner yellow shrimp plant and the related red shrimp plant. The plant begins blooming by sending up colorful four to five inch spikes, which are very long lasting. Many think this is the flower but in reality it is a modified flower called a bract. The flowers are the white tubular structures that emerge from the bract. Another plant having interesting flowers is torenia, commonly called wishbone flower. The stamens, which contain the yellow pollen grains, form a structure that resembles a wishbone. Bees enter the flower in search of nectar, and pick up and transfer the pollen. Perhaps the most interesting flowers belong to the container and basket plant favorite begonia. Begonia are monoecious plants, which have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The four petal male flowers have numerous stamens containing the pollen. The five petal female flowers have two to four twisted structures called stigma, which receive the pollen grains. We all enjoy the flowering plants in our landscapes, but taking a closer look reveals an entirely different perspective on the beauty of flowers. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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