All Things Gardening forum: What determines the number of leaves? (pic)

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 6, 2017 8:58 AM CST
I posted this picture in a Zinnia-specific thread, but I wanted to ask here a more broad question.

As you know Zinnias have leaves in pairs. But this particular Z. haageana being grown indoors has leaves in a plan of three. Even when it sprouted its cotyledons were three instead of two.

Does anybody know what causes this change in plants? None of the other plants from the seed packet were like this.


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[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Jan 6, 2017 10:51 AM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jan 9, 2017 12:25 AM CST
It's been a few days and I've asked a couple of botanists as well as a librarian and nobody really seems to know so far.

From what I have gathered (just posting this here in case others find it useful), cotyledons are obviously an energy source for young plants and if the parent plant has good nutrition during the formation of the embryo, it may decide to give some seedlings three cotyledons instead of two because this is 33% more chance of survival in future hard times. How this happens, or why this happens is not clear to me.

Also unclear is why some plants spontaneously produce tricot branches on an otherwise dicot plant.

I also want to point out that being a tricot is NOT the same as being triploid. Nobody here has alleged that but I have seen it stated at an old conversations in other places and that is simply not true. But it is an easy mistake to make because both words are uncommon and similar.

If you see this post in a year from now or several years from now, and have information, please reply anyway. I am very interested in how and why this happens on a molecular and genetic level.
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London, United Kingdom
Aimee @ citygarden.org.uk
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AimeeHoward
Jan 9, 2017 6:45 AM CST
As far as I know the Zinnias are flowers from the sunflower tribe within the daisy family. Probably you should make research about the flowers from that family in general in order to find the answer. I am afraid I really don't know what could be the reason, as well. Good luck!

Best Regards,
Aimee @ citygarden.org.uk/planting-flowers
[Last edited by AimeeHoward - Jan 9, 2017 6:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jan 9, 2017 9:59 AM CST
Thank you. I have done then actually, having searched for several relatives including sunflowers. There are a couple journal articles out there about polycotyledons in sunflowers but it does not seem to address any cause even though the result seems to be basically identical to what we see in zinnias.
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