hummingbirds and red

Max Withers
Wed, 04 Oct 2006 15:54:32 PDT
I can't remember where I read that hummingbirds gravitate to the reds 
because insects compete for nectar less in that color range. This merely 
replaces the anthropomorphic explanation with an insecto-morphic one, 
but at least it is an explanation.

Certainly the hummingbird-pollinated (exclusively, as determined by tube 
length*) passifloras are in red spectrum, and generally quite distinct 
in morphology and color from the bat-, moth-, other-pollinated groups.

In my own garden, the Anna's hummingbirds LOVE the hideous purple Salvia 
leucantha I inherited, and mostly ignore the red-spectrum plants I put 
in for them, including several other Salvias, Epilobium canum, 
Monardella macratha, Kniphofia, and an old Fuschia hybrid (also 
inherited) among others.

But their taste will improve in a week or two when I finally eliminate 
that monstrous S. leucantha!

First rain today since April!

* Tube length can be deceptive. As Joe noted there are no hummingbirds 
in S. Africa, but very many tubular flowers, which are at least in part 
pollinated by a fly whose name I forget with freakishly long mouthparts. 
In the case of (at least some of) the Tacsonia group of passionflowers, 
the tube length precludes all but one hummingbird pollinator, whose beak 
is longer than its body.

> Message: 14
> Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 10:28:06 -0400
> From: "Jim McKenney" <>
> Subject: Re: [pbs] hummingbirds
> To: <>,	"'Pacific Bulb Society'"
> 	<>
> Message-ID: <000001c6e62e$fac24e80$2f01a8c0@Library>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="us-ascii"
> I've always been skeptical of the claim that hummingbirds "prefer" red
> flowers. And it isn't only the anthropomorphic aspect of this argument which
> bothers me.

More information about the pbs mailing list