Friday, May 28, 2010

Variations on a theme, Part IV

The most common invasive plant in the Maltese countryside is the Cape Sorrel (Oxalis pes-caprae L.). The pictures below, taken at Għajn Tuffieħa, show the usual variety of the flower (1), together with another less frequent form exhibiting extra petals (2) resulting from additional sets of chromosomes in the cells' nucleus (polyploidy).

It is known for its sour taste resulting from a reserve of oxalic acid in the plant tissues, which has also resulted in its Maltese vernacular name of Qarsu (=sour).



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