I found this unusual beauty in my flower garden mixed in with the rest of the typical rudbeckia blooms. This abnormal growth, known as fasciation, occurs in the plant tip or apical meristem. The apical meristem is found at the tips of the plant both on the roots and the stem. It is an area of actively dividing cells.
Fasciation causes elongation of the affected area of the meristem resulting in flattened ribbon like grow. It is seen here as flattened stem and crested bloom. The flower appears to be co-joined and the stem is flat and wide rather than the typical round stem of the other rudbeckia surrounding this plant. Notice that a flower lower on the stem is "unaffected".
According to the Master Gardener program at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, "although this condition is not common, it has been recorded in hundreds of different plant species, including ferns, woody plants, herbaceous annuals and perennials, and fruits and vegetables. The cause of fasciation is varied, but not well understood. In some cases this irregular growth is apparently triggered by infection (by bacteria, viruses or phytoplasmas), feeding by insects or other animals, chemicals or mechanical damage." There is some evidence of cellular mutation, hormonal imbalance or even extreme weather being possible causes, however, fasciation can sometimes just happen with no apparent cause".
No matter what the reason, the result can be fascinating and/or bizarre. I find it a delight to have this atypical flower gracing my garden. None of the other rudbeckia flowers in the garden exhibit this mutation making this one even more special.
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I planted mammoth sunflower seeds and they turned out spectacular. The last few remaining blooms are on their last stages and I have one where the stalk's upper portion is enlarged and currently supporting 5 heads of flowers. Two are only 3/4 the size of the big ones and are opposite of each other. The 3 smaller ones are on top as the pictures show. How could this happen and it must be very rare to have something like this to occur? Some insights from you would be greatly appreciated.
Check out this photo of a rudbeckia that grew in my garden Photos of Flowers Exhibiting Fasciation. I think that might be what you are seeing on your sunflower plant. I notice that the centers don't appear to be quite round but perhaps more oblong. Hope this helps. Let's see if other members think.
This happens more often than you think. They say when seeds drop, often there are several that collide together and bud this multi cluster. Try harvesting some of the seeds from this crop . They are hard to find sunflowers that produce like this one. It is a unique winner!
I do not consider this rare and it is a bit strange and does not happen all the time. I live in the topics and I love to grow sunflowers here on the islands. I have had several of my plants produce more than one sunflower at a time. I do not see this often and when this one happens it is amazing and makes a very different sunflower. I am not sure if this one is so true or not but a local grower here told me this can happen like the birth of two children who attached together for one reason or another. I guess it happens when the seed starts to grow and there seems to be more than one grin inside the shell when it is planted it can produce a flower like this. That was how it was explained to me by an old Tahitian farmer. He is very knowledgable about plants so I am taking his word on this one.