Petal Fusion

Rose?We have found a peculiar anomaly within our nursery. Previously, we have reviewed ‘Splash Mutations’ that involves a rare splash-patterned pigmentation on the petal/sepals. In a nutshell, mutations are changes in plant/flower anatomy and characteristics, brought about by environmental and/or genetic factors. For this anomaly in particular, we have queried several growers whom have decades of experience;  and none of them have yet to witnessed such a peculiar sight. Perhaps this (quoting one of them), is indeed  a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.

Before we review the anatomical anomaly in fuller detail, it should be known that Dendrobium flowers typically have 2 petals, 3 sepals and 1 lip (actually a modified petal). Anatomically speaking, a flower is enclosed by 3 sepals (within a flower bud); and through the process of blooming, the inner surface of the Sepal is showcased, together with the enclosed petals and lip.

Found amongst a patch of Dendrobium Red Bulls, we came across a peculiar  “rose”. We have observed the fusion of at least 3 sets of flowers, into one single “rose-like” entity.

The above anomaly, technically termed as “fasciation”, occurs whereby several sets of petals/sepals are fused together into one flower. Fasciation could be attributed to many possible factors like pathological infections; introduction of chemicals/ hormones; physical injury to growing tip of bud; amongst others. Certain sources of research also highlights that conducive conditions for rapid growth is a necessity for such a phenomenon to occur. In this anomaly, we can observe that a certain degree of anatomical integrity being maintained, whereby the flower bud still involves the enclosure of floral parts within 3 Sepals. It is only upon blooming, then fasciation can be observed. It was most fortunate that such a rare sight has been captured on camera, as it is believed that such anomaly occurs highly randomly, and that chances for a second sighting would be extremely hard to come by.

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