Looking through my outdoor S.flava var. flava collection I discovered one possessed seed ovaries with anomalous superficial cell structures. This was common to all the flowers on the plant and something in 20 years of cultivation I haven't witnessed before. The specimen is in nominally healthy condition. Checkout the following photos of the Shallotte, Brunswick Co, NC plant in question - each close up is a different ovary. The specimen is in nominally healthy condition.
Has anyone else encountered these elongated spike structures....?
Here's another one courtesy of my buddy Don - this time a S.flava var. rubricorpora. It seems clear it is a genetic mutation of what might be referred to as the papillae of the fruit surface rather than an environmental impact of some kind.
You are suggesting you got a genetic mutation in two different plants at exactly the same time?
I would consider that those could be misplaced, malformed anthers. Did you remove the anthers from those flowers? Were they normal?
What I'm suggesting is a mutation that is capable of being expressed within S.flava, at the least, or possible in any species and certainly possible should any plant with the mutation, such as my example, share its genes with another. Each of five flowers on my specimen exhibited the same trait in essence uniformly. If an inherent recessive possibility within a species (like polydactyly for example in mammals) then it's statistically possible that it would occur at the same time during what is, after all, the flowering season; between my friend and I we have many thousands of specimens of which these two plants represent substantially less than 1%.
The protrusions are definitely not misplaced or malformed anther filaments which form at the basal margin of the ovary. In my example I removed the anthers to allow clarity of the subject before I took the photos. The anther structures were spent at that stage having been nominal prior. The photos clearly highlight deformation of individual (or perhaps collective) elements of the surface of the fruit.
While it could indeed be a congenital expression of environmental influence, I suspect it doesn't present as an immediate consequence of a pathogen or insect induced anomaly such as a gall, for instance. Indeed, that it does occur in isolation with bodies of material isolated in turn from one another lends towards it being a hereditary mutation, however that may have been derived in the long distant past.
I should have mentioned that although this specimen is 9 years old, this is the first time I have allowed the fruit to develop without having removed the flowers well before that stage. It will be interesting to do the same next year in order to note if it happens again. It is a constant in my friend's example.
Since posting this elsewhere I have learned that other cultivators have observed the same anomaly in other regions of the world. Would be interesting to learn if anyone has observed it in the wild. I suspect it would occur among wild populations if one was in a position to be able to examine them all.
Hi Earl. I think to dispel any doubt of an environmental influence you should send a specimen south to a much cooler climate .... oh gee, I just happen to live in that kind of location. That is one honey of a flower Aiden, are the petals normal?
sometimes plants be weird just to scare you. I swear, my venus flytrap probably got a kick out of how I panicked when it started developing its weird winter leaves. I thought some pest was eating at it and even started taking pictures to see if the "bite marks" were progressing. Turns out they grew in looking like that. now that it is getting out of dormancy, it is developing normal leaves again, and that is a relief to me. it proves it wasn't a pest or a disease.
Nothing compares to the joy of growing a plant from seed and watch it prosper.