Tulip colors and tulip intelligence

Joe Shaw jshaw@opuntiads.com
Mon, 04 Jun 2007 15:42:47 PDT
Hi Gang,

Flower colors are endlessly variable.  When color, shape and size are 
considered together the variation goes on forever and that is part of the 
reason flowers are so special.

One recent article explores the reason for blue petal bases in Tulipa 
gesneriana cv. Murasakizuisho.  The flower is mostly purple, but the bases 
of the tepals are blue.  The scientists ground up the various parts of the 
tepals and analyzed them.  The found that the extracts from purple regions 
and blue regions were essentially identical with a single exception; the 
blue regions had higher concentrations of iron.  The blue-colored cells had 
about 25-fold more iron than the purple-colored cells.

Tulips are clever.  Somehow they know to concentrate iron in specific cells 
of the perianth, or perhaps to deplete iron from other cells.  Additionally, 
ferrous iron (Fe3+) is employed for the effect, not ferric iron (Fe2+). 
I've always known that tulips are among the more intelligent of plants and 
think that this news reinforces that idea.

LINK:  (Abstract) Perianth Bottom-Specific Blue Color Development in Tulip 
cv. Murasakizuisho Requires Ferric Ions


Conroe TX
Rain is forecast, rainlilies are blooming, a green heron has adopted my 
garden (the low part) as its own.  The frogs, mosquito fish, and small 
snakes are a bonanza this spring; in 2 months the wet area will likely be 

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