Q: I’m a professional photographer (www.sarahesther.com) and on a recent job in a garden I found these odd shaped flowers. What is going on here?
A: Welcome to the world of fasciation! This odd phenomenon has been observed for hundreds of years. I see fasciated (flattened) willow branches being sold at the Southeastern Flower Show every year for use in flower arrangements.
Note that the stem under the odd flower is flattened as well.
My teenaged neighbor planted fasciated celosia, Celosia argentea var. cristata, because she liked the “brain flowers”.
Fasciation has more than one cause: bacteria, genetic mutation, etc. and several other plants commonly produce fasciated stems.
You can get more details on the causes at Fasciation
Photograph courtesy of Sarah Esther Photography.