Freaky Flowers

It is not too unusual to find odd flowers, particularly when they open following unsettled weather or other extreme conditions. Sometimes, though, we may not know what sort of environmental condition induced the odd forms. Other oddities are mutants, which might be perpetuated.

June 12, 2016 - Freak amaryllis bloom on a single flowered variety

May 25, 2014 - Variegated crab grass. I was weeding the garden when I noticed this beside my knee.

July 18, 2014 - Newport, TN - Kwanzo with a style. I pollinated this by a dark single variety, but will have to wait to see whether Kwanzo is capable of producing seeds.

May 8, 2014 - Newport, TN - Tradescantia with four petals instead of the normal three.

May 5, 2014 - Pink Azalea sporting rose and streaked.

June 19, 2013 - Asclepius tuberosa and variants.

April 26, 2013 in Oklahoma City, OK. Another freak, this one with 4 falls, on the same plant pictured below with 5.

April 25, 2013 in Oklahoma City, OK

What a day for Iris freaks. The first shows a light violet "sport" on an ivory-white TB that I saw yesterday afternoon when I didn't have my camera with me. I went back today for the picture. The other two, each with five falls, are growing side-by-side at Will Rogers Park. The other flowers of both varieties are normal.

A fasciated ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Lawrenceburg, KY. May 2012

Here is a white flowered variant of Lamium purpureum I found growing in Lawrenceburg, KY in April of 2011. The red pigment is also missing from the leaves.

And more recently (May 2012) I found white flowered Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) in several locations around Lawrenceburg.

An even more exciting discovery this May was a salmon-pink Crown Vetch (Securigera [Coronilla] varia), along with another with deep rose flowers.

The common Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) normally has white florets, with one dark maroon blossom in the middle of the umbel. Occasionally we find a pink tinge to some of the other florets. (September 2010)

Green (1914) reported on some odd flowers that opened from the bulbils of a lily. Somewhat analogous to these were the "blossoms" that replaced the leaves of seedlings from the Morello cherry observed by T. A. Knight.

"I have seen the blossoms and fruit of the Morello Cherry tree bear, in the forcing-house, the temperature of seventy and even of eighty degrees, without any injurious or peculiar effects, except that the plumules of the seeds produced in such high temperature expanded with something very like blossoms upon the points. Small white leaves, in every respect similar to the petals of blossoms, were in many instances arranged as in a perfect blossom, which withered and died, whilst a bud upon the lower part of the stem vegetated, and the period of puberty in the plants did not subsequently appear to be at all accelerated by the operation of the high temperature in which the seeds had been ripened."

The oddities below are some I've found during my walks in varous parts of California.

December 25, 2009 - Paperwhite Narcissus in San Carlos, CA.

Multi-petalled Amaryllis 'Rubra Bicolour' blossoms on a scape of normal flowers, in my San Carlos, CA garden, August 22, 2006.

The azalea blossom at left has lost a petal, yet remains symmetrical. The bloom on the right has two petaloid stamens. Palo Alto, CA.

Like the azalea above and the daylilies below, this IB iris remained symmetrical despite the change in number of organs. Palo Alto, CA.

July 29, 2009 - San Jose

I don't know the variety, but these two blooms represent several examples of abnormal numbers of floral parts found at the time. Palo Alto, CA.

Another daylily with extra petals displayed symmetrically. Foster City, CA.

Two blooms of the rose 'Mutabilis' with extra petals, but of different origins. The top bloom shows six petals arranged symmetrically, while in the lower the extras are petaloid stamenodes.

July 25, 2001 Palo Alto

March 3, 2008 Santa Rosa

From 2004, probably in Palo Alto, CA. A tulip with an extra organ that is neither petal nor leaf.

California poppies, one with 6 petals rather than the usual 4. Palo Alto, CA.

These are variant forms of Hemerocallis 'Kwanzo' observed at Palo Alto, CA.

Galls on Rosa californica. From a distance these appeared to be hips. It is striking that insect larvae can take over the genome of the host plant to produce a suitable home for themselves. Casper's Wilderness Park.

A few years ago (I don't have the date), all the buds on 'Asta von Parpart' opened to reveal clusters of more buds. Each bud opened to another flower. San Jose, CA.

This is red large-flowered miniature rose that did what 'Asta von Parpart' did, previously. 3/16/2007 San Jose.

The Grootendorst hybrid Rugosas also sometimes show a bud in the middle of the flower. November 2, 2008 (SJH)

'Spray Cécile Brünner' with bud emerging from center of flower. Four blooms appeared like this at the same time, suggesting that some condition of weather was responsible. Hayward, CA. This is a fairly frequent appearance on this variety, even in other locations.

June 27, 2000 at the Heritage Rose Garden in San Jose, CA. Three different roses exhibited similarly scalloped petals.

Crimson Glory


Ellen Willmott


Mission Bells

Odd occurrences on Agapanthus. Palo Alto, CA.



Agapanthus in San Carlos, CA - June 23, 2007
The flowers are strongly phototropic, turning to face the light.

Petaloid anthers in Camellia

Rose 'Marquise Boccella' with shoot growing from an ovule (left), and leaves in place of sepals (right). San Jose, CA.

See: Cook on Metaphanic Variations (1926)
and Goethe: Metamorphosis of Plants 1790 (1849)