07.08.2019 Eight where ordinarily there are four and a colorful visitor

A similar image to the partridge berry I posted a short time ago, but in this case with a double bloom.  I heard from someone that he once found one of these with a pair of five-petaled partridge berry flowers. Once again, these images are from the Federated Women’s Clubs State Forest in North Quabbin.

An interesting feature of the partridge berry is that, although there are two flowers per plant, it only produces one berry.  It takes two combined to produce one, the ovaries from each join for the single fruit. Europeans named the fruit a partridge berry believing that’s what they eat.  While they do partake of them, partridges also eat a multitude of foods such as insects, seeds, nuts and other berries.

Not all of nature is always pretty by common standards, but if one is of a mind, even the agents of decay can be attractive.

The yellow bodies are Physarum slime mold.

Seen closer they are not all that slimy.  An surprising fact about slime molds is that they can actually move to another food source once they have used up the current host. Often found in mushroom guide books, they are not fungi at all.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Central Massachusetts, Closeup Photography, ecology, Flora, Nature Photography, Quabbin, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 07.08.2019 Eight where ordinarily there are four and a colorful visitor

  1. How attractive that fringe of little hairs is on the partridge berry flowers. I see that the southwestern edge of the species’ range makes it to within a couple of counties of Austin. Still, I think the only place I ever saw it was in far east Texas years ago.

    And speaking of a different fringe, the dots of slime mold around the leaves in the second photo look good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had photographed these before, but I hadn’t remembered the hairs although my previous picture showed them off as well.

      When I returned after shooting the leaves with slime it was gone. I really don’t think they move very far or fast but four days later there was no sign of it. Now it is true that there were thousands of flowers, but I know the log it was under and no sign of it.


  2. Todd Henson says:

    Hairy flowers like these are always fascinating to see. They seem very unusual, even if they aren’t. Also a fascinating bit there about the 2 flowers needed to create 1 berry. I never would have guessed at something like that. Makes me wonder about those 8 petals… maybe 2 flowers that never quite split? I love the slime mold, that’s really interesting. I’d be curious to see it move using sped up video footage. Maybe I’ll search online for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s one video, if you haven’t found one yet.

      I wasn’t aware of the fusion of ovaries until reading about the plant this year. I always knew there were two flowers on every plant but had no idea about the rest of the biology.


      • Todd Henson says:

        Thanks for the video, Steve, that was absolutely fascinating. From the vibrations and thrumming that resembled a beating heart to the almost vein-like links back to the main community and how these grew in size when outliers found a new source of food. Incredible life form.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is some absolutely mind-boggling stuff happening out there. Can’t remember the title right now, but I read a book by an entomologist, Gilbert Waldbauer, that described some of the incredible sexual reproduction strategies of insects. Stuff we would never imagine.


  3. shoreacres says:

    I read about the two-flowers-one-berry phenomenon when you posted your recent partridge berry photo. Your eight-petaled find was a real bonus, though. Things like that always lead me to wonder what else is happening out there that no one ever sees.

    That slime mold video was fairly terrifying, but I watched it three times before I could make myself stop. I wondered if anyone had made a horror film featuring the stuff. Of course the answer’s yes, but not being a fan of the genre, I’ve missed them all — although I have heard of The Blob. I found some articles about the various films that have incorporated all the better characteristics of slime mold, but honestly? I can’t even bring myself to describe the story lines. I’ll just admire your photos — and watch the video another time or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terrifying and fascinating often go together. It’s hard to look away sometimes. I saw the blob as a kid but really don’t remember much about it any longer. I’ve not gotten into the horror genre. Humor is more attractive for entertainment. Or some adventure films like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc. And more thoughtful efforts too but these days anything longer than a few minutes puts me to sleep which makes Bentley happy as he naps on my lap .I’ve not attempted time lapse projects but the slime mold video makes me consider it.

      I have found a few plants that defy the basic description. I mentioned this one which you have seen before to Steve in one of his recent posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bluebrightly says:

    Fascinating, Steve. Again, I’ve heard of slime molds but I’ve never seen anything quite like what you found. And the Partridge berry is gorgeous, and how interesting about the two flowers and one berry. Thank you for passing this knowledge along. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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