En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 30, 2010

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Harvesting seeds on the American basket flower (Centaurea americana)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Where are the seeds on an American basket flower? How do I get them out to propagate them? When can you get them out? Thank you.

ANSWER:

The second, third and fourth photos below show mature flower/seed heads of Centaurea americana (American basket-flower).  The last photo is of the seeds themselves.  The seeds are at the base of the 'fluffy' area that covers the flower head.  American basket flower is a member of the Family Asteraceae (Aster Family).  This family typically has a flower head with two types of flowers on it—disc flowers and ray flowers.  The tiny disc flowers are in the center and the ray flowers form long petals surrounding the disc flowers in the center.  An example of a flower in this family with both types of flowers would be  Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) with its tiny dark brown disc flowers in the center surrounded by yellow ray flowers.  Some Asteraceae, however, have only ray flowers (e.g., dandelions) and some have only disc flowers.  American basket flowers happen to have only disc flowers.  The pink parts of the flowers are the elongated corollas of the many disc flowers on the flower head.  The seed develops in the ovary at the base of each disc flower.  Each of the pink corollas is attached to the developing seed.  As the seed matures, it dries and is finally released from the disc that underlies it to be blown by the wind and deposited somewhere that it will hopefully germinate and grow into a new basket flower plant.  In the second, third and fourth photos below, you can see mature seed heads of the basket flower.  When the seeds can be easily pulled from the disc of the mature seed head by pulling gently on the fluff attached to the seed, they are ready to be harvested.


Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

 


 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Viability of Lupinus havardii seeds from Elmendorf TX
April 25, 2014 - I have been able to grow several Lupinus havardii (Big Bend Bluebonnet) and they are now making seed. Is there anyway to determine if a seed is good or bad for this plant?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of cardinal flower with variegated leaves from Wakefield RI
August 21, 2013 - I purchased cardinal flower seeds from the Brandywine museum & have had great success for over a decade. Recently I spotted one cardinal flower with variegated leaves. Is this a plant worth propagatin...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Juniperus deppeana by seed
July 17, 2007 - Hello, I am interested in any info you can provide me on alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana) seed propagation. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

How to plant a gooseberry bush
November 22, 2008 - Please, if somebody can help, I need to know how to plant the gooseberry bush. Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Turk's cap in Midland TX
September 08, 2009 - My turk's cap won't make flowers. It has daily watering via irrigation system, and soft amended soil. The plant is beautiful and thriving, but no flowers. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center