Mutated black-eyed Susan

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A mutation is an accidental change in an organism's heredity genetics. Mutations occur in plants as well as animals. Mutations are often difficult to discover and verify. Sometimes they are easy to see.

I discovered the black-eyed Susan flowers pictured here on Oct. 31. I do not know whether the stress of our severe summer drought endured by this black-eyed Susan has caused the mutation that is so easy to see here. Black-eyed Susans normally look like the yellow petaled one on the left in this photo. The two "green-eyed" ones with green petals and "hairy" eyes are mutants.

Mutations have many causes ranging from chemical and radiation stress to environmental trauma and man induced changes. Some mutations are beneficial to the survival of an organism. Some are not.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by Aaron at The Painted Wren Gallery.

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