Ah, good. That means I'm not the only one to observe this sort of
growth pattern. To tell the truth, it seems to me that different
handedness might be more common than I thought, but the phenomenon is
not something one might notice, even with two specimens side-by-side.
Not being a botanist, my first guess is that there is some sort of
tiny 'kick', probably hormonal or environmental, that happens to a
meristem early in the development of a leaf or inflorescence, which is
then carried on without further chemical influence as the cells go
about their assigned roles.
In vining plants, there are some species that ALWAYS curl to the right
and others that ALWAYS curl to the left. So sometimes it is not merely
random. Offhand I cannot think of any special advantage one twist
direction might give to an aroid. Of course, in vining species I can't
think of any special advantage either; and yet they do it faithfully.
2011/10/25 Kathy <email@example.com>:
> About "handedness" with aroids, Ted: when the spathe of Amorph titanum unwraps and opens it's easy to observe this, and all the ones that have flowered for me have been left handed, and all the ones at University of Wisconsin have been right handed. I don't know the reason for this, but it's interesting.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Oct 24, 2011, at 12:46 PM, Theodore Held <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Dear List,
>> Attached here (with luck) is a picture I made of a pair of blooms from
>> a Cryptocoryne griffithi (identity confirmed by Peter Boyce at the
>> recent IAS show). What’s interesting to me is that the outer spathe
>> tip (called the flag for Crypts) of the plants twists to the left for
>> one and to the right for the other. These plants are vegetative kin.
>> I have also seen the pairing of left-handed and right-handed
>> inflorescences on Cryptocoryne pontederifolia.
>> Has anyone ever noticed mirror-image flower forms like this with any
>> other aroids? In chemistry differences involving only mirror images
>> are referred to as chiral isomers and originate with subtle
>> molecular-level geometry. In normal life this is called “handedness.”
>> In a plant bloom, the differences may display as macroscopic
>> phenomena, but likely originate with early development, also perhaps
>> on a molecular level.
>> Please enlighten me if anyone knows about this oddity.
>> Ted Held.
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