Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Manhattan Dahlia, 2

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Dahlia, Dahlia hybrid.

Photographed on Manhattan’s Upper West Side
on West 81st street as I was walking to the post office.

Image: GrrlScientist, 26 May 2009 [larger view].

Dahlias comprise a genus with at least 36 species of bushy plants that are native to the western regions of Central and South America. There are more than 20,000 named cultivars of these plants in captivity, which are the result of both hybridization and chromosomal duplication: Dahlias are octoploid — possessing eight copies of each homologous chromosome, whereas most plants have only two copies of each chromosome.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    May 27, 2009

    We could have a “what’s the mystery insect” contest with these photos, couldn’t we?

  2. #2 "GrrlScientist"
    May 27, 2009

    okay .. i’ll name the insects “bob1” and “bob2” ..

  3. #3 Bob O'H
    May 27, 2009

    What are their identifying marks?

    Um, perhaps I shouldn’t ask that.

  4. #4 Sheri Williamson
    May 28, 2009

    …native to the western regions of Central and South America.

    And western Mexico as well. Quite a few popular garden and greenhouse ornamentals originated in Mexico, such as cosmos, zinnias, salvias (including many hummingbird-pollinated species and varieties), begonias, coral bells (Heuchera), bat-face cuphea (C. llavea), shell flower (Tigridia pavonia), and the ever-popular poinsettia. It’s cool to (sometimes literally) stumble across a familiar-looking flower while birding across the border in Sonora or Chihuahua and realize it’s a wild cousin of one of my favorite garden plants.

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