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One of many mutations or disorders that can affect plants, proliferation is when one or more buds form in an already open bloom. The reason for this is not fully understood but, usually, not all blooms are affected. It is sometimes seen in roses but, in repeat-flowering cultivars, subsequent blooms are usually free from the problem.
Flower mutations - proliferation
Proliferation is a disorder that usually affects the flowers of a range of plants including clovers, the daisy family, opium poppies, plantains and roses. Bellis perennis ‘Prolifera’ – the hen and chickens daisy – is a stable cultivar that exhibits the phenomenon reliably with flowers arising from within the main flower. Occassionally a triple-tiered effect with flowering arising in the second set is seen.
The opium poppy ‘Hens and Chickens’ is an example of where secondary flowers are formed around the main flower.
Another type of proliferation is occasionally seen in plants with solitary flowers. Certain roses seem particularly prone, with the flower stalk appearing to grow through the flower to produce another flower, creating a two-tiered effect .
The symptoms of proliferation become apparent when;
Prune off the affected flowers and the next flower produced by that stem should be normal. However, there is no necessity to remove affected shoots if they are considered pleasing.
The cause of proliferation is unknown but, when it appears unexpectedly, it is probably due to a random genetic mutation at some point during the development of the flower.
It is possible that physical injury may be involved, perhaps by a late frost.
Where proliferation occurs each year, a virus might be the cause and affected plants will have to be replaced.
Clematis: green petalFasciationFlower ballingMutations: plantPhyllodyPlant virusesReversion
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