Food, Travel, Design and the occassional wordiness

Gardening: Wild (flower) observations July 21, 2009

Filed under: chemistry,home and garden,travel — Kolika C @ 3:45 pm
Tags: , ,

Science, Photography, weekend fun, home bound thoughts and Etymology
(weekend fun)
We went wildflower picking this weekend and as much as my companion hated holding the assortment of long and short wild stems that I handed him he should know I appreciate his effort and am very happy he went with me.
We got a bunch of purple sweet-peas, some Ox eye daisies (small mono-layer mums), some white Joe-Pye and some yellow-top golden-rod.
24 hours in, the sweet-peas are still thriving albeit some of them turned a bluer purple1 , but the petals are strong whereas the whites and yellows have withered. Same conditions, light, temperature, water.

I have noticed the same thing among red-purple bleeding hearts. They would live on that color and structure forever, until they eventually (after 3-5 days) dried upliving conditions? All but palatial; at the oddest of places, besides the floor mat in my car! Inside my garage where bad fumes rule, no sunlight, no fresh air, no water 2. Petunias would sog and sigh, but then thats how they are- thin, fragile, shriveling and crying at the hint of water or air. But even if the dermas shrink beyond recognition the colors would be intact without any external preserving treatment.

I am guessing it is the anti-aging activity of anthocyanidins in the petals? Delphinidin, Cyanidin, Petunidin and Peonidins 3 (?)

(home bound)

Another observation I cant ignore is the difference of colors in common (not the ones you buy from specialty markets) fruits and flowers in India and here (north east US). I am not saying that you dont get yellow flowers here, but the ratio of red-orange-yellow to blue-purple-red is much higher in India than here. Think mangoes, oranges, pineapples; compare that to grapes- concords, reds, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, blue berries…. Think marigold, hibiscus, Krishnachura/ Gul-mohar (whatever the name is in English is eluding me now) and compare petunias, violets, pansies, daisies, delphinia. I grew up seeing yellow chrysanthemums at my moms garden back there and now all I buy are purple ones. I believe the way we are going with genetics, “we are literally living life in Technicolor” even going all natural I dont say that you wouldnt see yellows and reds here and blues and purples there but its the ratio I cant ignore. Over here, a little south, and you have oranges in Sunshine state of Florida. And in India, you go a little north and beautiful orchids in every shade of purple welcome you, so do red apples. Is it the temperature then? Sub-tropic vs. temperate?

One huge (you might disagree on the huge) exception to this rule are lantanas. The prettiest are the pink-white-purple combinations so rampant in India but all I get here are red-yellow-oranges. Hmmm. Any ideas?

1 I am giving that (redderàbluer hue transition) to the increased alkalinity in water that I put the cut stems in (?) “anthocyanidins are highly conjugated chromophores. When the pH is changed, the extent of the conjugation (of the double bonds) is altered, which alters the wavelength of light energy absorbed by the molecule. (Natural anthocyanidins are most stable in a very low pH environment; at pH 8.0, most become colorless.) At pH 2.0, peonidin is cherry red; at 3.0 a strong yellowish pink; at 5.0 it is grape red-purple; and at 8.0 it becomes deep blue. Or would it be simple old-age?

2You can say that the phloems arent carrying any water to the latter flowers. So water or no water probably doesnt count.

3 Youve probably noted the similarity in names of some flowers and these chemicals. Like Peony and Peonidin, Petunia and Petunidin, Delphinium and Delphinidin. Cyan probably is from Blue. Antho meaning flower would give anthocyanins and anthocyanidins. [Anthocyanidins= Sugar (moiety) + anthocyanins.] So I am guessing cyanidins or anthocyanins were named from bluish pigments extracted from flowers and then as the others were discovered, they got named after the source. Later probably it was discovered that the same compounds exist in fruits and that is when it got popular among the non-scientific community. (Etymology)


One Response to “Gardening: Wild (flower) observations”

  1. biswaprasun Says:

    yes this is a good write-up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s