Amazing explorations of a flowering weed on my rooftop

  • jasveen dua

A weed was seen growing on my rooftop. It was a succulent plant with linear leaves. All the flowers except one had fertilized giving rise to seeds. The single flower that was seen had not opened up. It was deep pink and I teased it to observe its pollen under foldscope. The seeds were small and round in shape and had tuft of hair. I plucked the weed and performed its foldscopy.

What was amazing was the variation in colour of the petals from light pink to dark pink and the punching of holes in the petals. The punched holes were not due to any disease but added to the magnificent beauty of the flower.

 

Also a large number of elongated fibers were visible. Earlier I believed they aided in seed dispersal, but these multicellular fibers were seen to be part of the petals as well as stamens.

 

The pollen were spherical in shape and having smooth and thick exines. Numerous small seeds were seen in fertlized flowers. On observing under a foldscope, the seeds were crenulate with dentations clearly marked.

On consulting the web I could identify it a weed of family Portulacaceae and a related species of Portulaca that is a common groundcover plant in gardens.

Portulaca pilosa also called as Kiss Me Quick is a little wild flower with small 5-12 deep pink five petals. It is a prostrate, fleshy, branching plant that can grow anywhere getting a foothold to root. The leaves are spirally arranged at the tips and alternate below. The leaves are linear in shape and have fleshy leaf blades. The seeds are very tiny and can be carried by the wind.

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