The Great Plotnik

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


So, the other day The Great Plotnik was advertising for a small drone to use to pollinate his avocado tree, NOT REALIZING that his efforts a year ago using the GUACAMOLUTOR (@ pat. pend.) had already borne fruit. Like, literally.

Look closely at the photo below (it has been placed sideways for proper display of THREE avocados), and you'll see the one in the middle, the one on the left, and the one on the very far right, practically out of the frame. Plotnik never even saw the third one until he stared at the photo, but empirical observation has borne out the existence of not only three, but the fourth (above) and possibly several more little guys. And, Hoo!  It's early in the season. Hoo! Hoo!


Last night, after discovering the avocados on his tree (imagine the size of the grin on Plotnik's face), he did some further research. It turns out his tree is probably of the Guatemalan variety (all avocados are either of Mexican, Guatemalan or West Indian ancestry), which means it takes twelve to sixteen months for a fertilized flower to turn into a fruit.

Plotnik didn't know that.

And all of the fruits that he has noticed, so far, are within the area he was able to reach, twelve months ago, with his GUACAMOLUTOR (@ pat. pend.)

This year there are more bees than ever before swarming around the Southern side of the tree, which is its sunniest side. In addition, there are several flowering shrubs in neighbors' gardens directly below the tree, on the sunny side, which would tend to attract more bees. Avocados are not known to be favorites of bees, but, hey. Flowers are flowers.

Usually, those shrubs do not flower when the avocado is flowering. Usually March is colder and foggier. Not that Global Warming is good. But.

Now how about this fascination: Avocado flowers are unique in the plant kingdom. The tree produces millions of them, but a flower lives only two days. When it first opens, in the morning of day one, it is female. It can receive pollen. After a few receptive hours it closes. It is likely the men are confused, but their time comes the following afternoon, when the flower opens again. This time it is male, with erect stamens covered with pollen, ready for bees or wind or someone with a GUACAMOLUTOR (@ pat. pend.) to spread that pollen to other avocado flowers that might happen to still be open.

So an avocado tree may fertilize itself, since so many different flowers are open or closed on the same tree at the same time during the flowering season, but it's better to have a pollinator from a different variety, because IT JUST SO HAPPENS that a TYPE A avocado (the bumpy, more purple-y Hass-hybrid) behaves in the above manner, but a TYPE B avocado (like a Fuerte -- the longer, smoother avocado) behaves just the opposite: Male first, and then female.

You can see how opposites would attract.

So, children, today's sermon ends with this admonition:

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with, even if it turns out to be yourself.


At 7:00 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

this is sooooooo exciting - congrats!

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Linda Davick said...

Astounding. Bravo!

At 9:22 PM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

Ha ha ha - next you will be posting a picture of basketfuls of avocado you are setting on the sidewalk because you have so dang many! Congrats on this - you have a new skill!


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