Simply Science: Fasciation makes for more blooms

6:28 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
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BURTRUN, Minn. - Three years ago Percy Wunderlich planted a memorial garden for his daughter, Liz, when she passed away.

"Not an hour of the day goes by that I don't think about her," he said.

Through tears, he said his daughter's favorite flower was a tiger lily. And this year, one of the lilies in his garden looks different than the rest.

"This is just so bizarre," he said, now smiling. "The best way I can explain it is that it looks like a piece of flattened taffy. All the other tiger lilies have 15 to 20 flowers, but this one has about 60, it's so hard to count!"

It turns out a gene mutation is to blame.

Heidi Heiland, owner of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens said the lily is suffering from fasciation, which is a tip disruption. It usually occurs because of a virus, a mutation or a random mutation.

"So there is genetic propensity that it can occur again, but no, you can't plan for it," said Heidi. "So if it happens, just embrace it!"

A Colorado State University study suggests the extra chromosome stimulates the plant to produce too many cells. But Wunderlich looks at it as a gift.

"My neighbor Larry said that he couldn't help but think my daughter had something to do with it," he said. "And I couldn't agree more. God works in mysterious ways."

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