Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Bunch of Potential

Loaded with good intentions, the bunchberry plant grows in northern climates in the U.S. and Canada. This cluster of bunchberries was photographed near the Minnesota-Canada border. Bunchberries have the potential of forming large clusters of berries (hence the name bunchberry), but they seldom do.

Bunchberries depend on insects for pollination to bear fruit. Each blossom has dozens of stamen. When an insect lands on a bunchberry flower, the stamen explode, coating the insect with pollen. From the flower's point of view, the insect then becomes a pollinator when it visits the next flower. From the insect's point of view, it has no further desire to step on any more pollen landmines, so it abandons the bunchberries altogether. Bunchberries seldom produce much fruit, and spread mainly through casting runners which sprout new plants.

I suppose there's an analogy to be made here about failing to reach full potential through flawed thinking and planning, but I'll leave that to you.

Click on photo to enlarge. Copyright 2005 James Jordan Posted by Hello

1 comment:

Manny Festo said...

I had never heard of bunchberries before I read this.