Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fasciation Fascination

Fasciation is a type of deformity that occurs in plants fairly frequently. It is usually not fatal to the plant (in the short run) and can sometimes make it appear more interesting and unusual. Their are several causes of fasciation in plants. It can occur spontaneously as a mutation of the genetic material in the plant's growing tip (the apical meristem), it can occur as the result of the mutating effect of chemicals, or it can occur as the result of  bacteria that inhabit the soil and infect the plant with a small piece of genetic material that produces large amounts of a hormone like compound that causes that plant to become fasciated. Fasciated cactus and succulents (called 'cristate' or 'monstrose' ) can be sought after as highly desirable by collectors. Here at the Arboretum you can see fasciated plants occurring regularly. This might be because our soils could be infested with the bacteria that causes fasciation. 
Fasciation on a 'Tower of Jewels' (Echium wildpretii)
Close up of fasciated (crested) Euphorbia characias wulfenii

Fasciated (crested) Euphorbia characias wulfenii

Aloe speciosa with crested flower spikes. 

Close up of Aloe speciosa with crested flower spikes. 

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