Newest installment of the Nature Notebook is Grape Hyacinth. This sweet little flower is a volunteer ALL OVER MY YARD! They grow wild and happy here. Tucking into corners and even coming up from underneath my garden beds through 12 inches of soil and weed barrier. I have seen whole fields of them on our earliest hikes in the mountains. They are very hardy little plants in this climate!
This was our shortest biology class yet. It took about 35 minutes from start to finish. We had a field trip this morning (for a tour of a laser tag facility and then a game of laser tag!) so when we got home, no one was in the mood for a long lesson. I had looked up the information last night and found nothing in the Handbook of Nature Study. I had found a few diagrams and a bit of info online and I read that to the kids.
Then we set about collecting a sample of pollen from these tiny flowers. I cut one tiny flower in half to see the ovary, anthers, and stamen. There are tons of tiny flowers on each stalk, each having 6 simifused petals and sepals. I decided that my nature notebook would include a magnified picture of the tiny, disected flower so I could label each piece.
Getting pollen was difficult, but so worth it. We noticed right away (40x) that this pollen was white and not the green/yellow of the other pollen we have seen so far.
Under 400x magnification, you can see that these pollen grains are very simple. It almost seems as though I can see the cell inside the pollen!
It was a short, but sweet lesson. Tomorrow we have co-op, so no more lessons (unless we have a dying need, which we may. The quince are starting to bloom.) until Tuesday.