Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Flower for the Day Arctic Poppy Greenland 10-11

This is arctic poppy (Papaver radicatum) on the tundra. It is a solar collector. The  flowers have yellow petals which are shaped to reflect the rays of the sun onto the ovaries in the center of the corolla raising the temperature to encourage rapid maturation of the seeds. The flower head rotates to face the sun (much like sunflowers) keeping the rays focused. There are dark hairs on the outside of the maturing capsules which absorb heat also aiding seed maturation. The small black seeds are dispersed by the wind through holes in the top of the mature dry capsule.
Arctic poppies have wintergreen leaves. These are leaves that develop late in the summer and survive the winter. They remain green and can start photosynthesis as soon as the weather warms in the spring before there has been time for the new season's leaves to function. This gives the plant an important head start.

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