The ways of plants are inscrutable

From my June 11th posting “Purple Pride”, about a calla lily:

Cairo Callen is twice the size he was last year, and a lighter, subtler pinkish purple than last year (the ways of plants are inscrutable)

He’s also blooming way late, even given a long cool stretch; all the other callas bloomed long ago, and have now died down to the ground for most of a year of dormancy.

But wait, there’s more. About Cairo Callen and about Spathy, the spathiphyllum that lives on my worktable.

Cairo Callen sent up three flower stalks, which were so tall that two of them almost immediately slumped to the ground and took up a new recumbent life. All three are still blooming, and now there are two more flower stalks getting ready to bloom. More than two months later than last year.

Even more remarkable are the seeds I collected from CC last year. I stored them through the winter and planted them (as recommended) in early spring — which in this zone is February. Nothing happened, and I eventually decided the experiment had failed; I mean, it’s nearly July.

Then, a couple of days ago, little shoots appeared. There are now seven of them. It looks like they’ll come to maturity — they might not boom this first year — over four months late. Maybe their timing mechanisms are calibrated for the Southern Hemisphere. Who knows.

Spathy. Meanwhile, Spathy, who lives indoors becase he really really doesn’t like direct sunlight but gets tons of indrect diffused light on my worktable, has been sending up his flower shoots. Callas (aka calla lilies) and spathihyllums (sometimes called peace lilies) are both spadix-and-spathe plants in the arum family, but their life cycles are very different. Callas are dormant most of the year, shoot up furiously, bloom for a while, and then die back. Spaths are evergreen, and their blooms last for many weeks.

Spathy has been blooming for, oh, four or five months now. The first flower stalks were about a foot and a half long, with great big spadixes and spathes. As more stalks appeared, the stems got shorter and the flowers smaller. Last week, the latest stalk was a mini, only half as long as the early ones. And then a micro appeared last week, only half as long as the mini, with a tiny white flower. My (amateurish) photo of the plant in its context:

In the middle of this array, in front of the big black abacus, a full-sized stalk and flower (the flower now mature and green; they’re white when new). On the right, a green mini in side view (against the red book). In the middle, a bit to the right of the full-sized stalk, is the tiny white micro, so cute.

(Meanwhile, off on the left are three stalks intermediate in size between full and mini.)

You can harvest seeds from spaths and plant them, but the whole business sounds tedious and uncertain. And do I want more of these plants? Well, no; this one has doubled in size above and below ground already, so it’s quite enough to care for. I wouldn’t want a forest of them.

And that’s the Ramonarum, the arum news from Ramona St.

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