Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scars Can be Beautiful

Philodendron selloum
I recently had surgery to fuse some vertebrae in my neck. I have just recently gotten up the courage to look at the scar. It is not attractive, but I have been assured this will fade. It has been under wraps which includes a neck brace and usually a scarf to cover the brace. If you watch this #gardenchatter, you can see the cover up here.  
I have to tell you though, I have always had a fascination with the leaf scars on houseplants, especially philodendrons. I love the look of them. 
What is a leaf scar, you may ask? A leaf scar is the mark left by a leaf after it falls off the stem of the plant. It is where  the petiole was attached. 

You can see on this plant above, the places where the petioles attach.

Close up of  a leaf scar from a Philodendron selloum.

In the picture above of the close up, (sorry it is a little blurry) you can see the vascular bundles. Another definition is in order-vascular bundles are, as defined in the dictionary:

a longitudinal arrangement of strands of xylem and phloem, and sometimes cambium, that forms the fluid-conducting channels of vascular tissue in the rhizomes, stems, and leaf veins of vascular plants, the arrangement varying with the type of plant.
Too technical? All those spots are the scars of the tubes that carried the water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. That is the simplest way I can explain it. 


Heart shaped leaf scar


 I saw this philodendron at the New York Botanical Garden. Most of the scars look round, but the one was shaped like a heart.

Philodendron at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA
 This plant above is obviously very old. These plants climb trees. Philodendron comes from the Greek words philo or "love" and dendron "tree".  The plant starts out on the jungle floor, scrambling across it until finding a tree to climb. The older the plant, the more leaf scars it has. Makes sense, right? The older we get, the more scars we have, too. Emotional, physical.....Anyway, back to plants. 
Most of these pictures were taken at botanical gardens. Most of us couldn't support something this big in our homes. Mine is getting quite large but I doubt it will ever be as large as these.  The scars are starting to prominently show though, and I love it! 

1 comment:

  1. Great post, and great spotlight on these tree-type Philodendrons. Though I find them a bit ungainly as houseplants, the effect of them climbing a tree trunk in a conservatory environment is impressive. I too love the prominent leaf scars on these species; thanks for posting the photos. We don't have a decent specimen at any of our botanical gardens here in Toronto, unfortunately: just a few sad ones that don't have a tree to hang on to.