In Full Bloom
Late May and the adult plants in the nursery are loaded with yellow flowers. The seedlings are all moved out to the field, but these plants remain in the nursery to make next year’s seed. The sounds and sights of buzzing insects are evidence of a good seed harvest in the making.
Rhodiola rosea plants are dioecious, either male or female. As the flowers appear, the differences in plant gender are noticeable. Just my observation, but the males are bright yellow before the females show their color display. At this time of year and in the pictures the male plants have the most color.
Close up photos show the differences in flower structure. The males have a star shaped burst of stamens and are in their fully glory. The females have swollen pods and are just starting to open. The female flowers are smaller, and tighter and the pod or ovary at the flower base is prominent.
The male plants in the picture are shorter and smaller, but that is not always the case. Published literature suggests that the male plants can be larger and may have slightly increased levels of beneficial compounds. I think I will look for new breeder males for next year’s crop of seeds!
Rhodiola rosea requires insects for pollination. The bees are always around, and so are smaller flying insects. They hop around quickly and were camera shy today. There are many other flowers blooming, such as cherry, apple and dandelions, and the native plant called Buffalo bean. It’s good that some insects prefer some adaptogenic pollen and nectar during this time of plenty.
The male flowers will fade as their work will soon be done. The female flower heads will develop over the next two months and seed harvest occurs in early August after the stems have turned brown.
May is almost wrapped up, and the next two months are all about weeding. Yay!!! (not!!!!)