30 December 2008

Important Drymonia specimen produces fruit at Selby Gardens

Drymonia pendula (Poeppig) Wiehler can be found throughout the Andean tropics and is one of the more striking species in the genus (shown here on display in Selby's Display House). The plant is characterized by long slender peduncles that terminate in conspicuous inflorescences flanked with red, showy bracts. The tubular corollas protrude from a mass of red calyces and are yellowish with blushed lobes. The species is undoubtedly pollinated by birds.

We have one specimen of this fascinating plant growing at Selby Gardens. Collected in 1998 by Bruce Holst in Peru (MSBG 1998-0223A), our specimen has been flowering for some time. Recently, several fruit have been produced. As if the flowers weren't spectacular enough, the fruit are rather showy themselves. As is evident in the photograph, the calyx remains attached (the red, leaf-like structures). The fruit itself consists of a yellow pericarp that reflexes at maturity while the inner, fleshy endocarp splits longitudinally to reveal hundreds of small seeds.

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