Monday, September 30, 2013

Showy Flower Parts

Mussaenda are native plants of the Philippines. We have hybrids named after first ladies of the country as well as some prominent political and distinguished women, like the Queen Sirikit of Thailand. The flowers of Mussaenda species are not the most conspicuous parts of the plant. They are so minute about 1.0 cm in diameter, bright yellow,   and  hirsute. The five petals are at the tip of an elongated perianth. However, compared to the other parts of the plant, the flowers are forgotten. Only the insects visiting them see the yellow real flowers. The ostentatiously-flambuoyant parts are actually the bracts. In the case of the Mussaenda philippica 'Doña Luz' below, the bracts are orange in color, a bit curling at the margins, with very prominently deep white venation.

five petals elevated enough on top of the long hirsute perianth

the petals are velvety in texture with a ridge center in every petal

 Only one tiny flower is borne by a big bunch of bracts. Maybe the role of the bracts is to attract the insect pollinators. However, this plant is not known to be fruit or seed producing. They are normally propagated through cuttings. But of course the hybrids fully used these minute flowers during pollination

the bunch of bracts become too heavy making them droop

A fully flowering tree will not be missed because of the showy bracts. We tend to prune all the branches at the end of the dry season for the new branches to develop, which eventually produce the showy bracts.

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Macro Monday 2

Floral Friday Fotos


  1. Love the bracts! And that's one fantastic plant! Hope you have a good week!

  2. These plants grow abundance in my tropical country!

  3. The salmon-colored bracts really put on a show, very dramatic. The tiny true flowers are cute. Nice macros.

  4. Those bracts are very striking, I love the color. We have plants where the bracts provide the beauty and the flowers are hardly noticeable, for example the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).

  5. Amazing macros, and what an incredible plant! I've never seen it before. It's stunning from a distance, but even more so the closer you get!

  6. A very showy tree that demands attention. The flowers are a gorgeous colour.

  7. very colourful and lovely to see; thanks for sharing Andrea

  8. One of my favourite shrubs for the tropics. They just do so brilliantly well here. Your photos show just how beautiful they are.

  9. I especially like the white cultivars. They do so well in the tropics.

  10. What a beautiful and unusual plant


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