Thursday, 7 August 2014

Grass .. I think not!

 

Grass-of-Parnassus

(Parnassia palustris )

Also known as the 'bog star', it isn't actually a grass at all, belonging to an entirely different botanical class. The name comes from ancient Greece. The cattle on Mount Parnassus developed a taste for the plant; hence it was an ‘honorary grass'??

Grass-of-Parnassus is the County Flower of both Cumbria and Sutherland and has the distinction of appearing on the former's county arms. (The county flower for Northumberland .. Bloody Crane’s-bill.)
The flower structure is worth a closer look with the carpels fused in the centre and the stamen next (5) then amazing fans of golden pin-heads.This whorl of waste-stamens between the stamens and the petals has changed to become nectariferous. These have become lobed, and the tip of every lobe has a drop-like, honey-coloured bud. The small flies and hymenopterans that pollinate the plant are attracted by the nectar and the nectariferous base. Only one of the five stamens in the flower is active at any one time, with each receiving pollen on average once every 24 hours. The stigma opens up to receive pollen only when all the stamens are empty.



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