Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scientific Poetry

I LOVE this blog...
The Digital Cuttlefish

Check it out... you'll know why a couple of the posts have been featured in OpenLab...
my absolute favorite is The Evolutionary Biology's Valentines Day Poem :)


Cuttlefish said...



Um... ok, I swear I am not making this up--just yesterday I saw something in my back yard which puzzled me, and left me searching my sorry excuse for a memory for a contact who was... a botanist! Now that I think of it, I actually have two questions--but I think I need to wait until I can take some clear photographs.

As a heads-up... one question is about leaf shape in ginkgo trees--the new shoots at the base of the tree have a wildly different leaf shape than the rest of the tree! The second... I have some apple cultivars in my yard, one of which suffered badly in ice storms last year, and may (or may not) be currently the new cultivar, or may be new growth just from root stock. How soon can I know for sure? And how?

Of course, this being my first visit here, I don't know if you are a tree specialist, or perhaps specialize in shrubs, tulips, broccoli, or squash. (If the last, I have other questions....)

See, I need a botanist like most of my friends need a shrink. I suspect I am a carrier...


The Real CAM said...

Hello DC!
I am very happy to answer your questions (& to make you blush!)
With the Ginkgo biloba, I would have to see pictures because I’m not too sure how “wild” these leaves are! You can send them to my e-mail if you like (bnachte at gmail dot com). Plants will produce adventitious growth as a stress response and the internodes will become longer, but I’ve never heard of leaf shape changing too drastically. Normal leaf morphology for Ginkgo can be anywhere from a wedge shape with a wavy top to a wedge shape with large lobes.

For the apple tree; it depends on where the new growth is in relation to the graft. If the new growth is above/after the graft, you have a good chance that it will be the new cultivar. However, chimeral or intermediate growth has been known to happen (although I don’t know about in apples specifically). The only way to know for sure is to wait until the fruit grows and matures. If it looks entirely different to what was previously growing, unfortunately the new growth is from the rootstock. I know that doesn’t help much right now, but your local nursery or horticulturalist might be able to tell before the fruiting stage (they will look at growth habit, leaf morphology, etc. and will be familiar with what cultivars are available in your area). It also depends how different the rootstock plant looks from the new cultivar. If they look very similar, then the only way to tell would be by the fruit or flowers.
Hope this helps!

I'm not much of a specialist in anything yet, although give me a couple years... then all I'll be able to talk about is phloem transport and cambium tissue or if carbon dioxide of decaying plant material is offset by new growth :)