Is It May or Is It July?


A few days ago some of the potatoes started blooming. I’ve never seen potato blossoms in May here before. I staggered my potato plantings over five weeks, so I should have potato blossoms through July. Up close, the flowers are complex. Why do they have all that fine hair on the back of their petals? What purpose do the folds of the petals serve? What about the patterns of their petals? What do the flowers look like in ultraviolet, which is how bees see them? How many thousands of species of bacteria thrive on a potato blossom? Are there species of bacteria, fungi, and/or micro arthropods that exist only potato blossoms? Could be.

The more you look at a single blossom, the more questions you have. There is enough information in these intricate flowers to write several dissertations. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to sit in on an oral exam of a PhD candidate who has written a dissertation on potato blossoms? What questions would the professors toss at the candidate? It could become the basis for a Netflix original series.


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