Growing AK: Twinflowers blooming at the gardens

 The twin flower blooming at the Alaska Botanical Garden.
The twin flower blooming at the Alaska Botanical Garden. (KTUU)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 7:01 PM AKDT
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While our gardens are happily growing, there's always the chance to step outside and look around. At the Alaska Botanical Garden, we had an opportunity to discover the "twinflower." It's a little pink bell and it's called the twinflower because it always blooms in twos.

"This plant is, technically they’re a shrub," Patrick Ryan, Alaska Botanical Garden education specialist said. "They run on a really long kind of a woody string and the little flowers pop up, but they are circumpolar which means around the top part of the earth they’re found all over."

Like most wildflowers, the twin flowers only bloom for about two weeks.

"Their job is to make seeds and be done," says Ryan.

They are a little difficult to see but once you see one, you'll often find a patch of them together. But they are "tiny so easy to miss but that’s why I call them tiny treasures," says Ryan. "So delicate but it’s actually a pretty tough plant."

The scientific name of the twin flower is the Linnaea borealis, named after Carl Linnaeus. Ryan says it's, "the favorite flower of Linnaeus, the father binomial nomenclature, the guy who thought of giving things two names in science -- like we are homo sapiens."

Linnaeus died in 1778 and when you see a portrait of him, Ryan says "he’s always grinning a little bit, he’s got a smirk almost, and always holding the twin flower or it’s pinned to him."

The Alaska Botanical Garden is open Friday through Monday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and is closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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