The Web of Life (78-4-1) Flowering


The transition to flowering is complex and involves the convergence of multiple signals. ~ Swedish botanist Jonas Danielson & German botanist Wolf Frommer

For an angiosperm, flowering largely determines a plant’s reproductive success. Multiple criteria must be met for a plant to decide to flower. Unless and until a plant feels that it is healthy and ready, it will not attempt flowering.

Many flowering plants do not produce blooms until they have experienced the cold of winter – a condition called vernalization. Winter wheat and various fruit trees, including cherry, peach, and orange, are exemplary. Biennial plants, such as sugar beet, cabbage, celery, and carrots, need chilling for 2nd-year flowering buds to develop.

The chilling experience is registered epigenetically. Vernalization is but one example of innumerable instances where plants keep track of events and remember the rhythms of their environment. Vernalization also exemplifies the innate wisdom in plants to conserve their resources until they understand their situation. Experience confers confidence.