S’more Spores

It’s the time of year when plants get ready to go dormant here in North Carolina.

This means in addition to losing leaves, plants set seed or form spores.  This hopefully ensures another generation of plants.

This November is a little unusual because it has been so warm that we still have flowers blooming and bees buzzing.  I have even had second generation seeds germinate and flower this season.

I will take you on a tour of s’more spores.  Seeds will follow in another post.

Sensitive fern/Onoclea sensibilis sends up its own spores on a stick.  These are referred to as beads.

img_5715

Its fronds are sterile, i.e. do not produce spores.

img_5705

Chain fern/ Woodwardia areolata has a separate spore bearing structure, also.

img_5709

Its fronds do not produce spores either.

img_5698

The Japanese Holly fern/Cyrtomium falcatum has a sporadic spore arrangement.  No pun intended.

img_5710

Its fronds are evergreen.

img_5701

Here is one sorus from the Japanese Holly fern under the microscope.

20161106_135337.jpg

Stay tuned for seeds.

FLOWER

Spore Surprise

Well, I intended to do a post on fern spores later, but the spores had other ideas.

I picked a frond off my Autumn ferns to bring in to my work space yesterday evening.

img_5583

I took photos of the lovely sori lined up two-by-two down the leaflets.

img_5587

I meant to take the frond back outside to the compost pile when I finished.

Over night, the frond dried up and shot spores all over the table.

img_5588

I was amazed at the range the tiny sporangia catapults had.

img_5589

While we are on the subject of spores, may I remind you that they are NOT seeds.

20161105_100346.jpg
Sporangium(catapult) heads slung with spores from a dried up sorus.

Each spore germinates into a tiny gametophyte that allows an egg and sperm join

then germination takes place and a new sporophyte/fern plant grows.

The tiny green structures (pin-head sized) in this jar are gametophytes grown from Dragon’s Tail fern spores.

img_5597

If my snacked on baby fern (‘Disappearing Fern’ post) doesn’t survive, maybe its progeny will.  Sniff, sniff.

Ferns come, ferns go, ferns come again.

FERN MAMA/FLOWER

 

The Disappearing Fern

My first orders of business when I return from a trip are to check on the bunnies

img_5531

and then to tour my plants to check for any changes.

To my shock and horror, when I peered into the baby fern box

img_5510

my prized Dragon’s Tail fern/Aspleniaceae x Ebenoides was missing many fronds.

Not whole fronds. The midribs remained sticking out nakedly brown without the lovely green scales.

img_5508

Something had eaten the Dragon’s Tails down to the bones.

There were droppings left on the dish below.  Evidence.

img_5504

A hungry caterpillar was feasting on my favorite fern.

I searched the soil before examining each frond.

I found a small green snacker, but knew he was not large enough to produce the poop.

img_5503

Ah Ha!    Bad, Bad Larva Brown.  He and his little Green Sidekick were escorted outside.

Go pick on a bigger fern you bullies.

img_5507

I hope little Dragon’s Tail can recover from this shock.

FERN MAMA

A Trip Back in Time

Middleton Place is located along the Ashley River near Charleston, South Carolina.

img_5419

There are many separate gardens with each its own special features.

img_5424

There is a large camellia garden and a formal rose garden and many water features and statuary.

img_5448

I especially enjoyed the area that is the working part of the plantation.

There are carriages and display shops of blacksmiths, coopers, carpenters and candle-makers.

img_5450

The icing on the cake is the barnyard and barns with animals.

img_5465

I made friends with a one-horned Water Buffalo

img_5462

and a horse, of course.

img_5479

Both beautiful and fascinating.

img_5435

Middleton is marvelous.

FLOWER

An Orange and a Rose

I found two treasures while touring Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina.

img_5280

The first is a hardy orange tree called Chinese Bitter Orange.  Its scientific name is Poncirus trifoliata.

It has long, tough thorns.

img_5320

The fruit is not edible alone, but may be used in marmalade or condiments.

img_5317

The second is called Confederate Rose. It is a tree hibiscus also called Giant Rose Mallow.

img_5248

Its scientific name is Hibiscus mutabilis.

img_5246

There were thousands of plants on this lovely plantation.

These two were my favorites.

FLOWER

 

The Magical Magnolia Plantation

It was my great joy to attend a wedding at this lovely setting over the weekend.

img_5256

Magnolia Plantation has belonged to the Drayton family since 1676.

img_5297

It is located near the city of Charleston, South Carolina along the Ashley River.

img_5158

The house has a lovely wrap-around porch for entertaining and viewing the property.

img_5302

The house walls are covered with a stucco-like composite called pebbledash.

This is a combination of phosphate, lime and river mud. It has a rough texture due to shells and pebbles in the mix.

20161028_190936.jpg
Pebbledash wall behind the beautiful bride and bridesmaid.

The Bald Cypress trees hung with Spanish moss surround various sizes of ponds and seemed to make little dams with their knees.

img_5204

Several lovely bridges allow you pause and peer into the waters.

img_5178img_5194

There are many camellias and azaleas on the grounds.

img_5145img_5142

img_5210img_5146img_5221

I will share two unusual plants from Magnolia Plantation in my next post.

Stay tuned.

FLOWER