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Do you really know your Prunus from your Malus and Pyrus?

Dr M has already posted on the eXtreme botanical and floral distinctions between three fruit trees currently in beautiful bloom in our parks, gardens and countryside.

So here, by way of an eXtreme botanical teaser, is a chance for you to test your knowledge and skill in two easy steps (and one slightly trickier one!).

Step 1: read and inwardly digest Dr M’s post here (if you haven’t already done so, even if you have he has clarified a few elements since the original post, so a quick second look is worthwhile!)

Step 2: use the info and knowledge gained to ID the three mystery fruit trees currently still in bloom (early May 20140) on the University of Reading campus to genus.

Step 3: if you can get to species (or variety) you’re an outstanding eXtreme botanist, so do contact Dr M with your answers or further queries/questions!

Three trees:

Three blossoms:

Three flowers:

So how did you do?

Time for Dr M to reveal all:

Plant A: Here the inflorescence is a mass of flowers, the small individual flowers are arranged in racemes, and a touch confusing maybe. But, once we isolate a single flower and look close up, this is an easy one! The small flowers have a superior ovary, a single stigma and single carpel which are all giveaway clues and A is cherry (Prunus).

Plant B: Rather splendid deep pink flowers here and perhaps also a little confusing at first. But, a close look at the flower, especially when cut in half, shows the yellow anthers and the fused stigmas of apple, so B is apple (Malus).

Plant C: Pure white blossoms here so you might think; “hmmm Dr  M is talking apples, pears and cherries, three plants here, and we’ve already had cherry and apple, so bingo, this must be a decent pear!”

Well, it certainly isn’t cherry, because the flower has an inferior ovary and several carpels (5 stigmas are visible). So pear is possible.  However, look closely at the flowers, and again the yellow anthers and the stigmas fused below tells you C is apple (Malus, again!).

Unconvinced? Confused? Uncertain? Click the image once then a second time to see the detail and look carefully, the stigmas are fused together the lower region.

As always never hesitate to contact Dr M with your comments and questions!

Hope you enjoyed that little feast on three of your botanical five a day!



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