From a mismatch in growth, a flower blooms | Science News

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From a mismatch in growth, a flower blooms

Physicists reveal forces at work in the blossoming of a lily

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6:10pm, March 21, 2011

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While wandering lonely as a cloud, William Wordsworth should have stopped to wonder how those daffodils bloomed.

Not content to just watch flowers dance in the breeze, Harvard physicists have described for the first time how flowers generate the forces needed to curl open come springtime. In the Casa Blanca lily hybrid, this poetic blossoming is driven by skewed growth at the edges of petals, the team reports online March 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Over four and a half days, the lily’s young buds slowly suck up water, growing until they’re ready to explode. The petals and sepals — the outer, greener

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