Series: "Wild flowers of Crete"
Asphodelus fistulosus (Hollow-leaved asphodel) is a more delicate plant than Asphodelus aestivus (see yesterdays post).
The following info on the species is obtained from the "Wild Plants of Malta" website
This monocot is a perennial which grows from underground fibrous roots. It is seen as a rosette of basal leaves multiple and several unbranched flowering stems.
The plant have several long basal leaves which grow from the underground roots as a rosette. The grey-green leaves are linear in shape, 20-35cm long and just 0.3-0.5 cm wide. Their margin is smooth. The cross section of the leaf is semi-cylindrical and hollowed (like a tube), hence the species name 'fistulosus'. Usually the leaves remain erect and do not bend down. Since the leaves look similar to the onion, this plant got the name of Onion weed. The flowering stem is glabrous, and un-branched producing short-stalked, alternate flowers along its length. Therefore the inflorescences are described as racemes
Flowers are attached to the flowering stalk by 0.5mm long pedicel. In every raceme, the bottom flower opens first and slowly the flowers above blooms one by one. Every single flower remains in bloom for several days. The flower buds are made from the petals itself, since they do not have any true distinctive sepals. The buds are bullet-shaped, and have a white colour with brown vertical stripes.
When the buds open up, they produce a flower with 6 wax-white, oval petals each having a central reddish-brown mid-vein. The most noticable part of the flower is however the 6 stamens which are drooping, and about 8mm long. Each stamen consists of a stubby white filament and a conspicuous large brown anther covered with orange pollen. The central and single style+stigma is slightly longer than the anthers which are about 10mm long. The stigma is divided into 3 inflated pink structures. The flower measures approximately 15-20mm accross, and is sweet scented.
The flower gives the false impression that the ovary has a white colour. Actually, the inferior ovary is green but it is enclosed by a whitish cap which is formed by 6 flaps each coming from the base of every stamen. The fruit are dehiscent capsules, the size of a pea (6mm c.) and splits open when the numerous black seeds are ripe in early Summer. The unripe fruit is originally orange/brown and slowly becomes green with time.
Image: Palaiochora (Crete) - 14/04/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.
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