I was looking around the back yard this evening, looking at the differences between some of the black-eyed susans that have come up from the wildflower seed mix I first scattered last year, when I found this flower that is oblong, not round. Then I noticed the opening bud a little to the right, that is also oblong.
Still further down, you can see that the stem is like a data cable - flat and wide. It's as though several stems fused together, and at different heights a portion veers off to form a flower. Some leaves come straight out of the flat side, the leaves that come out of the edges are four leaves stacked together. There are two stems like this coming from what appears to be the same plant. I meant to mention that the flowers seem to have twice the amount of... whatever the word is, the small green stuff behind the petals, it's as if the flowers are two, fused side by side (creating the oblong shape), and all of the under-petal stuff crammed together. Weird! I'm still pretty new to this, so maybe this happens all the time. Has anyone else run across this?
Your "Austin Garden Date" reminded me that me head has been in the weeds so to speak and I hadn't done any reading here for a while. The growth is a "fasciculation" (love English!) and is caused by a non-harmful virus much like virus cause varigations. There were probably some aphids on the plant this Spring that introduced the infection. Each petal and brown nub in the bloom is a seperate flower so you sort of ended up with Siamese Twin flower stalks. Seedlings may show a higher incidence of the fun habit.
What a neat word! Tahnks for your explanation, I can't seem to show this plant to enough people, it is just fascinating. The thing that really doesn't come though on the pictures is the flat, wide (ribbon-like) stem. I love looking at these, and will saving seeds.