Single and double Snowdrop flowers

Single and double Snowdrop flowers

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Snowdrop flowers. The picture shows (above) a "single" common snowdrop, Galanthis nivalis, a native of the Pyrenees, and East to Iran, widely naturalised in the UK. Below is a "double" flower of G. nivalis "flore pleno". The single flower has two whorls of 3 tepals; the outer pure white, and the inner with a green blotch. The reproductive organs are yellow. The double flower has 6 white outer tepals and many inner tepals, with a few infertile reproductive structures (yellow). Double flowers arise from mutations in genes controlling flower development. The results are often prized horticulturally (most garden roses are double); they may be larger than single flowers, and since they are sterile and do not produce seed, longer lasting. Conversely, as shown here, they may lack the simple beauty of the wild type, and can only be propagated by cuttings or, here, by offset bulbs

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Keywords: double flower, flore pleno, flower development, galanthus nivalis, gene, horticultural, horticulture, mutation, seed, single flower, snowdrop, sterile plant, tepal

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