The plight of one plainsman
Although the colony of old plainsman, Hymenopappus scabiosaeus, that I found on April 12 at the corner of Corral Ln. and I-35 in south Austin was remarkable for its size and density, one detail caught my attention: a single old plainsman plant that had become fasciated.
A post from August 2011 explained “what botanists call fasciation, a word based, with some imagination, on the Latin fascia that meant ‘a strip of material, ribbon, band, bandage, swathe.’ As Dr. T. Ombrello wrote: ‘One interesting type of mistake that is occasionally found in plants is known as a fasciated or crested growth form. It is usually the result of a growing point changing from a round dome of cells into a crescent shape. Subsequent growth produces a flat stem. In some cases fasciation is the result of several embryonic growing points fusing together, with the same flat-stem appearance.'”
In this close photograph of old plainsman, the lower group of buds looks pretty normal, but the upper group is clearly fasciated, with its buds flattening out into a row rather than forming a round cluster.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman