Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aristolochia bianorii: miniature beauty

Aristolochia bianorii is one of the most beautiful endemic to Mallorca and Menorca. It likes to live among rocks and limestone, both in coastal areas and in the mountains. It is often found growing in rock crevices where its roots go deep in search of moisture retained at the bottom of the crack. Slightly branched stems up to 50 inches usually grow prostrate and scattered, but if they find a small bush not hesitate to climb over its branches. Blooms during the winter and spring. It belongs to Aristolochiaceae family and its genome contains 6 pairs of chromosomes (2n = 12)

Its leaves like little hearts rarely exceed 2.5 cm in length. They are ovate-oblong, cordate at the base, petiolate and glabrous. I recommend to extend the photos to see better the details.

In this image we see very well the detail of the leaves. Its curious flowers, photographed in June, are zygomorphic with a single plane of symmetry and are called perigone. They have form of yellowish tube crossed longitudinally by lines brown-dwelled with the end widened and returned downwards like a small hood. At the edge of the opening of the flower and inside there are abundant trichomes.

Flowers about 2 inches long are solitary, axillary, stalked and gynanders, ie, are hermaphrodites with both male and female sexual organs welded together. At the bottom of the tube is widened androecium with six stamens inside which surround the pistil to which are welded and just below the stem there is a thickening called the gynoecium that contains the ovary is divided into six compartments. The flower image was photographed in April.

Fruits of Aristolochia bianorii in capsule form with six shells. The photo was taken in late June.

Detail fruit, umbilicated in the center, with the six shells that contain the seeds. Compared with the fingertips is best seen its diminutive size.

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