Friday, May 16, 2014

Fascinated Over Fasciation

Couldn't help the corny post title.

Plants never cease to amaze me, they create such interest and wonder.
Here, fasciated growth has formed on a tip of this Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) stem. You can see lateral buds trying to form, but are squeezed and hardened.
To define: Fasciation is an abnormal condition of plant tissue growth that happens on the apical meristem (tip growth) of the plant. It generally creates a flattened portion of tissue, looking like concentrated stems all fused together in a clump. I've seen it happen with flowers, fruit and sometimes the root.

Here's another unusual growth on the same shrub.
Comparison to a normal apical stem tip.
Interestingly enough, some offshoots of this sort of growth have created new cultivars - like Fasciated Willow, used widely in the floral industry.

I've seen fasciation on very few deciduous shrubs - mainly willows. Never yet seen on lilac as this one.

Cause: genetic, bacterial, viral, fungal, hormonal and of course, environmental. That's my guess in this situation. This lilac is flanked by a salted walkway and roadway in the winter. Quite exposed to prevailing winds. However, I may be wrong.

Quite fascinating.

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