I don’t know what it is about the Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) that captures my attention in a special way. Probably it has to do with the maple-like leaf form. It looks like a maple, yet it’s not a maple—what maple would produce flowers like these? And it is the floral inflorescences that are the most fascinating feature of this shrub. A crown of large florets surrounds a disk of much smaller ones (shown here before the buds have opened), producing a unique doily-like effect. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)
What kind of DNA programming or developmental hormone distribution must be involved to produce two differently sized flowers in the same arrangement? Plant development is a mind-boggling concept to begin with, and this example has me once again praising the Creator and His seemingly infinite bag of design tricks.
By the way, the Highbush Cranberry is not a cranberry--Ocean Spray would not give it a second look. It does produce red berries, which I suppose reminded someone of the boggy plant. Such is the confusion caused by common names. That's why the contribution of the man whose 3ooth birthday we celebrate tomorrow is so important. That's right, it's the birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, the father of our system of classification and binomial nomenclature--who was a fine Christian and creationist.