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Kit help..difference between regular and irregular flowers?

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Kit help..difference between regular and irregular flowers?

Postby Thegreenman » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:21 pm

Kit, Please help me understand the differences between regular and irregular perianths...

Here is C. quadriloculare
Image
Image

and Portlandia

Image

Does the radial symmetry include the sexual organs? or just the petals and sepals?

On some plants, like Delonix, the irregularity is obvious, but on these plants the difference eludes me.
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Re: Kit help..difference between regular and irregular flowers?

Postby kit » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:19 pm

Radial symmetry is sometimes called actinomorphic or more commonly, regular. It means that any way you divide the flower in half equally - both sides are equal/mirror images. So yes, it includes all the floral parts.

Labiatae (now Lamiaceae) actually refers to the flowers having a labellum or lip which makes the whole family irregular. You can only divide an irregular flower in half equally along one plane.

The irregularity is certainly not conspicuous in your example and I am going to have to take a closer look at a live flower. It is quite conspicuous in ClerodendrON (correct spelling) Xspeciosum and C ugandense .

Clerodendron Xspeciosum FTG1-05.jpg


Clerodendron ugandense 8-08 copy.jpg


Just a note: Don't confuse regularity with perfect and imperfect flowers. Imperfect flowers lack certain floral parts.
Kit
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Re: Kit help..difference between regular and irregular flowers?

Postby Thegreenman » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:06 pm

---so the actual difference could be slight, or not readily apparent. Okeys
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Re: Kit help..difference between regular and irregular flowers?

Postby kit » Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:34 am

Right. Showy flowers are all about adaptations for pollinators, perhaps becoming more indistinct in regions with pollinators that need less help for successful reproduction. By contrast, wind pollinated plants (eg grasses) don't need showy flowers because they don't need to attract pollinators so flowers are often modified to the bare essentials - the anthers and stigma.

Compare the regular flowers of true lilies with the slightly irregular flowers of Crinum "lilies" or Amaryllis. There were once included in the same family but the slight contrast clearly separated them morphologically. One thing you notice is that the stamens of crinums are grouped on the lower part of the trumpet-shaped flowers but they radiate evenly in lilies.

Other only slightly irregular flowers are found in some bignons (ie Tabebuia) and Acanths (Thunbergia) - there is just a slightly enlarged lip in some groups with bee lines into the throat only on the lower lip. Inside the Tabs, anthers are arched inside the throat and the tube of the flower is curved like little cornucopias to hold the flower opening outward and upward to make it inviting for the bird or insect to land. On the other hand, Apocynaceae flowers like Plumeria are regular.
Kit
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