Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Daffodil Organs

Today is the first day of March, ushering in what (I desperately hope) is the spring season. To celebrate March and spring I wanted to share the article, "Oxford scientists say trumpets in daffodils are 'new organ'." Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers, and their arrival also marks the end of winter's cold so I'm posting about them today as a form of wishful thinking.

The trumpet (gold) and petals (pale yellow)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Daffodils are unique among flowers because they have five parts (called organs) instead of the typical four. The four parts all flowers have are the sepals, petals, stamens, and carpals. The fifth part that daffodils have is called the trumpet, or corona. Researchers have struggled in the past to determine what the trumpet is, typically lumping it in with the petals.

But now, researchers from the University of Oxford (UK) have determined that the trumpet is not a part of the petals, and is its own unique organ. The researchers discovered this by studying the flowers as they formed, and dissecting the bulbs to see how the different parts of the flower developed. In daffodils, the four main parts that all flowers have develop at the same time, while the trumpet is formed later. Because of this difference in development times, the researchers concluded that the trumpet is distinct from the other four organs.

For a little article about the classification of parts of a daffodil, I really like this story. The article has some interesting background and quotes that put the finding in context. This is a fun science article, and the next time I see daffodils, I'll be sure to check out the trumpet-petal difference. Fingers crossed I'll see daffodils (and spring!) sometime soon. 


  1. I can appreciate the wishful thinking Erin. I'm done with this weather, as well. Flowers can have as many organs as they'd like as long as they start popping out of the ground soon.

  2. Haha, well said. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Nice spring story, Erin! I had never thought about what part of the flower the trumpet was before - the array of things that people are studying always amazes me. Here's to seeing those trumpets soon!

  4. I second Tom's sentiments...

    Thanks for sharing, Erin :)

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