Mauka: Man Bites Dog (Again)

Yawn. Once bitten, twice bored. The shove-'em-in-a-shed technique of inducing flowering in mauka that I first used last year  has worked again.  Same 11 hour day, for about a month - same result.  Frank van Keirsbilck has been trying his own version of this technique and he tells me that his plants are also in bud.

The first up is Blanca, with flowers opening now.  Both 208001 and Roja are snapping at Blanca's heels, with the beginnings of inflorescences easily discernible at the ends of their stems.  I hurried out specially in my pyjamas, before the sun was up, to get this shot of Blanca in all its understated glory.  As I mentioned before, the flowers seem to open, not in the afternoon as might have been expected from the behaviour of other members of the genus Mirabilis, but at night. Four o'clock flower indeed.

Although this is far too late in the autumn to reasonably expect the flowers to be pollinated and produce a viable crop of anthocarps outdoors, it at least shows that mauka is amenable to this sort of unsophisticated daylength manipulation.  All you need is a shed, a mauka plant and a fairly accurate timepiece. Interested?


Julien said…
The day-length thing again ! :)
I find it strange you think Mirabilis species flower during the day as the only one I've ever grown is Mirabilis jalapa that flowers at night.
Rhizowen said…
Hi Julien

In my experience Mirabilis jalapa opens its flowers in the late afternoon as temperatures begin to decline. I don't doubt that its flowers stay open through the following night. Perhaps where you are temperatures are hotter than here and flowering is delayed until the relative cool of night. Mauka may require temperatures which are lower still which explains it opening after darkness falls.