Floral morphology

After spending the day in the sun down at a funeral down in Kitti for a friend, family member, former student, and a teacher at the local high school. the floral morphology class was certainly a change of pace. Of course the flowers bloom in the sun, and my students are somewhat adverse to standing in the equatorial sun. I was already sunburned and had spent the day reminded that the sun is a part of life on Pohnpei. Funerals are also a reminder of the social order here on Pohnpei, so I leaned slightly on my weak command of local language (the class is predominantly composed of Pohnpeian speakers) to order the students out into the sunshine to look at flowers.
Hymenocallis littoralis or the beach spider lily covered with ants

This term I did not want to start in the classroom. I did not pull out the flower model nor did I explain floral formulas. The class is SC/SS 115 and while I covered the four whorls orally in the field, I also swung over to the SS side of the dual appellation.

H. littoralis has six tepals that form the petals, six bright orange anthers, and a single central pistil. Distinctly a monocot.

Sandra sporting a flower over her ear and a mwarmar

The students were adverse to being out in the heat and sunshine of the afternoon, but that is where the flowers happen to be.

Flowers are evolved to attract pollinators and while some flowers attract birds, others insects, some flowers seem to be evolved to attract people. People move and plant plumeria. Sandra demonstrates the use of flowers as adornment.

Rebseen sports plumeria blossoms. No one told her to put these flowers in her hair. As I noted in class, many flowers are designed to attract attention as a way of being a successful plant. Flowers are a part of an angiosperm's reproductive cycle, they are also associated with human's reproductive cycle. A flower attracts us, and we use flowers to attract each other. Flowers have a symbolism of both beauty and of the hope of renewed life. Flowers are part of human partner attraction and selection, and yet are also a part of end of life, of funerals and graves where those who survive remember the life brought by the person who has died.

Flowers decorating the casket of a loved one who passed on


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