Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pink Lilium brightens the week

This pink Oriental Lilium - "Stargazer" - (as far as I can recall) is a lovely plant, which has arrived in time to brighten the otherwise dull week.
Oriental Lilium - Stargazer - in situ

Here it is in close-up.
Oriental Lilium - Stargazer

A zoomed image of the Lilium's stamens and the stigma

The stigma (the female receptive organ) and the stamens
Botanical illustration from ""
Not everybody understands how plants are pollinated, and Liliums are one of the most "obvious" models to understand. Bees transfer pollen to the female part of the flower, the "stigma" which is the prominent white organ which protrudes in the front of all other parts of the Lilium flower. It is sticky, which aids in its receptive function.
  • "Stamens are the male reproductive parts of flowers. A stamen consists of an anther (which produces pollen) and a filament. The pollen consists of the male reproductive cells; they fertilize ovules."   
  • "The pistil is the collective term for the carpel(s). Each carpel includes an ovary (where the ovules are produced; ovules are the female reproductive cells, the eggs), a style (a tube on top of the ovary), and a stigma (which receives the pollen during fertilization)."  
  • Source: Enchanted Learning
The next step is the part least understood - which is that the pollen grains actually grow down through the style, below the stigma, into the ovary which is at the lower end of the tube. That is where fertilization occurs - inside the ovary of the flower.

A close-up view of the Lilium anther - the pollen-bearing (male) part of the flower.
The pollen grains on the Lilium stamen.

There is an interesting point on the timing of flowering of this plant. Virtually all the other plants in my garden which I photograph, and certainly the Orchids I have photographed this year, have been late in flowering this year. Not so this Lilium. I photographed it last year on 17 January 2010. This year, it opened on 15 January 2011. That's pretty reliable.

Many plants flower in accordance with the length of the day, not the rain or temperature. I suggest that this Lilium takes its cue by the length of the day, and so its flowering time is reliable in each season. 

By contrast, there is a saying in relation to many Orchids that they will flower (within their normal season) six weeks after "good rain". There are many "variables" in that statement, but I shall illustrate the variable flowering seasons in an Orchid tomorrow.


mick said...

The scientific explanations are interesting - but - the flowers are beautiful!

Mr. Smiley said...

An excellent explanation.

Mr. Smiley said...


A wonderful explanation thanks to the little Lilium.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick and Dave.
Glad you liked the explanation.
Botanists go much more deeply into genetics and explanations of haploid and diploid transfer, etc - but my mind blurs around that time.
But the thing about the pollen growing down from the stigma to the ovary is a mystery to most people.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Dave.
I forgot to say that unlike my Orchids, this is a large flower - a hand-span across.