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I've attached some picture of my foxglove. It's perfectly normal except for the top flower of each stem which looks like a fussion of multiple flowers. Any ideas what has happened to it? Is it worth saving the seed?

figrat

The seed should be fine to save.

neatbush

cool word "fasciation" you learn somthing new everyday.

Shrinking Violet

I had a spectacular example of this the other year, and I saved the seed and sowed it to see what, if anything, would happen.

All the plants from the saved seeds have either had mis-shapen flowers (rather attractive, but not the traditional bell shape) or the top of the stem has had one extra large flower over a spire of normal flowers.

This suggests to me that it is not damage to the growing tip (which I had believed was most likely the case) but that there is some inherent genetic problem.

Mind you, this was not a truly scientific experiment, just a one off.  But I am not so convinced about the external damage explanation as I used to be.  It probably would need a boffin experiment to be conclusive.  And I'm not a boffin

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Alina W

A friend of nine had one of these odd foxgloves come up on her garden - in her case the top flower was much larger than the others and faced straight forward instead of hanging down. We split the seeds between us - every one of them came up normal

So, perhaps there are two possible causes for these odd flowers - damage, as presumably in my case, and genetic flaw as in yours, Shrinking Violet?

Alina W

That should be "a friend of mine".

Shrinking Violet

I suspect you're right Alina.  It must depend on the strength of the flawed gene as to whether or not the problem is repeated down the generations.  I think I'll see if the mis-shapen flowers set seed, save that and see what happens.

Of course, this won't prove anything one way or another, since it will probably be cross-fertilised from nearby "normal" flowers.  But I shall be interested to discover what results.

btw if I can find it and work out how to post it, I'll try to look up the original photograph.  (It may have been lost on my previous laptop though).

 

 

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