Maranta Reaches Maturity

You know, I promised an indoor update to celebrate my 200th post. But I can think of nothing better for such a thing than spotlighting small beauties and successes.

Back in June, I bought a few plants at a kind of fair in Silver Spring.

The "Tiger Kitty" Begonia is doing well in my office; the Rex Begonia is making a comeback and growing leaves, finally; and the pregnant onion is going a bit crazy emphasizing the "pregnant" part of its name.

But the fourth plant from that purchasing spree beats those others like a personal propulsion device fueled with aluminum nanoparticles mixed in ice operated by Superman would totally win against, say, a kite made out of used toilet paper being flown by a telephone pole in some awkwardly unbalanced competition of global circumnavigation.

Because my Maranta prayer plant is flowering.

It tried once before, but then something happened and it didn't work out. But every few hours, I think, this thing just pops out a new flower. It started with one wrinkled one and a closed bud on the stalk. Then, later that day, I noticed the bud opened and the first flower was gone. This pictured flower is the third or fourth; it and the few following it have all kind of disappeared from the segmented flower stalk thing, although there are a few more waiting in the wings. I would like to think that they're retracted, but they probably have just gone to "a better place" (that is, they probably have fallen off the plant and onto the floor).

Having tried to find information on Maranta flowering, the closest I could come to is this how-to on plant production. It notes that Maranta leuconeura "Erythroneura" is the red-ribbed variety with purple flowers (probably mine). It says nothing about pollination, but then I found another site that explains the, erm, "explosive" pollen release onto the back of the female bits in the flower. I'm sure there's a phrase for that on Anyway, before the flower even opens, the male reproductive offerings are sprayed onto the back of the female bits, which are kind of spring-loaded, preparing the flower for pollination. Then the flower opens, a bee buzzes by and tries to get some goodies, and the spring is released. The stigma hits some other flower's pollen on the bee, getting those eggs all fertilized, and deposits its own pollen so other flowers may get fertilized when the bee stops by.

I like when pretty plants have pretty flowers, small though they be, as well as interesting sexual behaviours.

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