Sankofa Garden Homes: Collard greens flowers in bloom!
CLARENCE GLOVER | 4/14/2019, noon
Not only have I enjoyed them, but neighbors both walking and driving by have commented on how beautiful the flowers are. They have become for me and others the subject of many photos and videos. I have enjoyed cut flowers in my kitchen window for days as the blooms brighten the early mornings. Like the blue bonnets, they are only for a season. I am treasuring them, knowing I must wait until next spring to experience these beautiful spring flowers.
While beautiful, I know the real purpose of the flowers is the pollination process. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in their article, What is Pollination, describes the process:
“Pollinations is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. One of the ways that plants can produce offspring is by making seeds. Seeds contain the genetic information to produce a new plant.
“How does pollen get from one flower to another? Flowers must rely on vectors to move pollen. These vectors can include wind, water, birds, insects, butterflies, bats and other animals that visit flowers. We call animals or insects that transfer pollen from plant to plant ‘pollinators.’”
In the article, Bees: A Honey of an Idea, the writer describes the importance of bees in pollination:
“The most important thing that bees do is pollinate. … When a bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower of a plant, some pollen from the stamens – the male reproductive organ of the flower – sticks to the hair of her body. When she visits the next flower, some of this pollen is rubbed off onto the sigma, or the pistil – the female reproductive organ of the flower. When this happens, fertilization is possible, and a fruit, carrying seeds, can develop.”
As a result of letting my collard greens flower, I am also able to harvest new seed after they have dried – a new generation of collard greens ready for planting.
While you can enjoy the beautiful colors of collard greens flowers and create opportunities to enhance the process of pollination, you can also enjoy them as a seasonal delicacy.
Pinch a few of the flowers off. Pour some virgin olive oil in a skillet – cast iron preferably – and sauté for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Plate and season with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Now enjoy a nutritional meal of collard greens flower! Bon appétit!
Until next month, happy Sankofa home gardening!
The Sankofa Gardening Homes column is provided by Clarence Glover, known as Professor Freedom of Sankofa Education Services, for the purpose of “taking the chains off our brains, so our minds can work.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.