Tag Archives: Plant hormones

Curl up and die? By gibberelin, no!

Aeonium flower heads
Aeonium

This plant should not look this happy, not at all! I separated it from its parent plant, a clump which was undisturbed for nearly four years. The place was like a wall of green fractals, even the hose had a hard time wetting the soil underneath. Then for two weeks, this stayed in a bucket crowded together with others, no water, no soil – waiting for something to happen. While I, the one who was meant to make things happen got busy potting up exotic things like dragon fruit and tree dahlias. A week into the wait, this plant got a message from one of the many hormones still at work inside it that perhaps this was it. Perhaps, there was no watering in its future, no putting down roots and building another wall of fractals. Perhaps it was curtains.

So what has this plant been doing for the last week? Not getting ready for cell death and system shutdown. Not by a long shot, no. It has been having its last hurrah, a party to celebrate life! It has been covering itself in literally tens of these flowering tips. If I hadn’t noticed they would have gone on to flower, perhaps even set seed thanks to the efficiency of passing bees and ants, even the breeze. And then, and only then would it finally call it a day. But only then, after exhausting all resources in building a future. Not in withering away and dying without putting up a fight first.

There may be a lesson in this for us all; there certainly is one for me.