When do two become one…

When are flowers on a single stem made up of two distinct characteristics?

European Cranberry Bush 2013 Pamela Breitberg

European Cranberry Bush 2013 Pamela Breitberg

European Cranberry Bush copyright 2013

European Cranberry Bush copyright 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “wet woods” is an understatement for the Harms Woods patch of Cook County Forest Preserve. At this moment one would need tall boots to take a stroll here as the excessive rains have reinforced its official wetland status. This wet footing is the ideal habitat for the European Cranberry Bush

(Viburnum opulus). Flat pancakes of white flowers draw attention in the spring; red cranberry-like berries hold visual interest in the fall. Pure white flowers fully open on the outside of the pancake cluster, while smaller cream colored flowers open in the interior. Both flower types have five petals but the inner flowers’ petals are less distinct. The larger outer flowers are sterile while the small inner flowers are fertile. A fine example of nature breaking the rules of nature.

For detailed information see: http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_viopa2.pdf