I am always fascinated by the strange and unusual fruits that develop on some wildflowers. (Fruits are the ripened ovary, the other structures surrounding the mature ovary and the seeds within.) Many of these fruits exhibit shapes that I would not expect, given the simplicity of the flower. In their own way the fruits are as beautiful and spectacular as their blossom.
A silique is a dry fruit, often long and narrow, composed of two parts that divides down the middle. A translucent membrane separating the sections of a silique often persists on the outer wall after the seeds fall away. The four-petaled, saucer shaped California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) flower matures into a silique containing numerous, small black seeds. As the silique dries it twists and pops open, forcefully ejecting the seeds.
These pictures illustrate the development of the California poppy silique and show the silique once it has split open. It is interesting to see how the fertilized ovary elongates upward from the stem to form the silique. The pictured California poppies were growing in lanes between our pastures (Modoc County CA).
I left a handful of siliques on my desk to photograph once they opened. Mistake! I woke the next morning to discover that overnight the siliques popped open. “Forcefully eject the seeds” is an understatement. Weeks later I continue to fine California poppy seeds throughout my study.
More information on California poppies is contained in my previous post from 07-09-2012 entitled “California Poppy”.