Plagiobothrys nothofulvus growing in a field.  Image taken by and used with permision from Eric Hunt.

Form and Function

Plagiobothrys nothofulvus, also known as the popcorn flower, is native to northern California.  It can be found in many grassy meadows or fields, and has a slender hair stem that can grow from 6 to 20 inches high (Royo 2012).  It has small, white, five-petaled flowers that grow up to oneP. nothofulvus growing in a field. Image taken by and used with permission from Eric Hunt. inch in size located at the end of its stems. The flowers grow in coils and bloom February through June (Royo 2006).  The flower also has narrow leaves that grow from one to one and a half inches; the higher the leaf is in the stem the smaller it tends to be (Royo 2006). Plants can have anywhere from 50 to 100 blooming flowers at once. Each flower can produce four tan-colored to black nutlets;  lack of pollination causes the growth of  calyces,the green outer set of floral leaves making up the external part of the flower that consist of separate sepals. They contain fewer than four nutlets and are observed often (Amsberry & Meinke 2001).

Dicot stem diagram.Plagiobothrys nothofulvus is a dicot (Calflora 2014).  This classification is distinguished by flower parts in divisions of 2, 4, or 5 (popcorn flowers have 5 petals).  Dicots also feature one main taproot, two cotyledons inside their seeds, and vascular stem tissues arranged in a ring (UC-Clermont Biology 2014).

The popcorn flowers have very deep root systems which range in size depending on the terrain the plant lives in. In wet, marsh-like areas the plant will have very short roots. However, some desert inhabiting flowers have extremely deep roots to help them absorb water from deeper layers of soil. Like all angiosperms, the popcorn flower goes through sexual reproduction, producing pollen that is transported to other plants through insects and animals.

To learn more about how insects and animals interact with Plagiobothrys nothofulvus to distribute pollen, check out the Interactions page!

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