Monday, May 14, 2012

Smilax walteri

After a very long wait, Smilax walteri has finally bloomed here. I collected the seed of this plant about twenty years ago in southeastern Virginia during the same trip on which seed of Smilax laurifolia was collected. Smilax walteri is one member of this genus which is worth having for its showy fruit: it's sometimes called the coral berry cat brier. It was my original intention to make this post later in the year when the fruit was in color. When I saw the developing flower buds earlier this year the excitement began to mount. Finally the little rust colored buds began to open. Something about them reminded me of the flowers of the little orchid Aplyctrum hyemale. Once the flowers were open, I picked one with the intention of cross-pollinating other open blooms. That's when the big disappointment came: the flower I had plucked had only stamens. A quick check confirmed that all of the flowers had only stamens. There won't be any coral berries this year.
There was supposed to be an image of the flower with this posting, but if I took one I can't find it now. I remember taking a picture, or rather thinking I was taking a picture, but it must have been one of those times I ran out without a memory card in the camera.

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