Flower of Adam’s Needle

Botanically known as Yucca, is a plant of ethnobotanic importance. Its stiff and sword-shaped leaves  have pointed tips The bell-shaped flowers hang loosely in clusters giving it the name – Christmas bells. It is a plant cultivated in rocky gardens and xeriscapes, but otherwise found abundantly in dry wastelands. In my beautiful city Chandigarh (India), it is a part of Nek Chand’s Rock garden flora and is a landscape plant of cross-road roundabouts. The mature plant blooms every few years and the bloom lasts weeks before shedding out.

I plucked a few flowers, which were difficult to remove due to the piercing leaf tips and thick, tough  stalk of the flowers. The trimerous flower with a long shelf-life had 6 green sepals and 6 white colored petals.

I peeled a petal to find polygonal cells under a foldscope.

The reproductive part had 6 stamens with thick, fleshy stamens bearing anther-like structures at the tip. The anthers were very hard to tease and the pollen were found to be agglutinated with each other to form pollinia probably. A safranin stained mount of pollen showed pollen clumped together. The stamens adhered to the carpel from all sides. Carpel was very hard and capsule-like with a pore within. On reviewing the literature I came to know, it is pollinated by moths.

 

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