My third MG class was such fun! I love playing with beans!
Yes, I realize that sounds crazy. But it’s true. We played with beans during class, so it was like a win-win situation.
This class, we talked about botany- or plant anatomy. This included plant reproduction. I learned some new things, and remembered a few things from my college botany class. I won’t mention how long ago that was, only that is was a loooong time ago.
There are two big things I took away from this class. First of all, while I might have known this in college, I had forgotten that there are imperfect flowers. This means the plant produces male and female flowers; male flowers have the stamen and pollen, female flowers have the pistel and ovaries. Generally, the male flowers come in first, and the female flowers later in the season. The female plants will have the fruit behind the flower.
This explains why I had a bunch of flowers on my cucumber plants last year, but didn’t get actual cucumbers until late in the season; cucumbers and squash (including pumpkins) are some of the plants that have imperfect flowers.
This was interesting, but it did not allow me to play with beans.
The next exercise did.
Each of us had been given a few white beans, and the next section taught us about seed anatomy. Inside each seed is a food source, an immature root, and the first, immature leaves of the plant embryo. Different seeds have different elements, but they all boil down to these three things. When the seed germinates, the immature root leaves the seed and becomes the first root, the leaves break through and are the first set of immature leaves on the sprout.
The biggest pick-up from this, that I did NOT know, was that those first leaves, the cotyledon leaves, are not “true” leaves; meaning they will not resemble the leaves of the plant when it matures. Nor are the second set of leaves. The third set of leaves are the first “true” leaves.
It was interesting to look over the seeds (and I pulled apart 3 beans and several pieces of corn) to identify the different parts. I found it all fascinating.
Next week, the class I have been looking forward to! Propagation!