Pamianthe on the wiki

Leo A. Martin
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:34:00 PDT
It is my understanding that most pollinating bats prefer to land on something while
feeding, if possible, because they are very poor at hovering in one spot, in the manner
of a moth or hummingbird. There is frequently substantial damage to flowers when bats
feed, due to them crawling around on the flower and plant. Most bat-pollinated flowers
tend to be quite wide in relation to their length, with sturdy, thick, or even waxy
perianth segments. They also are borne closely to the stem, if not sessile. Such
architecture more readily supports a mammal.

Pamianthe appears not strong enough to support even smaller bats. In addition, many bats
feed on pollen as well as nectar, and Pamianthe does not appear to produce much of that
when compared to such plants as the cacti in genus Pilosocereus or Pachycereus pringlei,
known to be bat pollinated. These have wide, short flowers with thick perianth segments,
held closely to the stems, and are presented horizontally or vertically.

Moth-pollinated flowers, as noted in this discussion, are often long-tubed and somewhat
diaphenous. While bat-pollinated flowers sometimes have a fruity fragrance, more often
they smell sour, like something fermented, or musty. (Pachycereus pringlei smells like
Juicy Fruit chewing gum and most Pilosocereus species like something left in the washing
machine too long.)

The cactus genera  and are examples of this, and some members of Echinopsis have long,
fragrant, night-blooming flowers.

Fragrances we humans consider sweet often are produced by moth-pollinated plants such as
Angraecum, Cereus, Brugmansia, Datura, Gardenia, Hylocereus, Jasminum, Lilium (bulb
content!) Nicotiana, Peniocereus, Petunia, Selenicereus and Polianthes (more bulb
content!!). These flowers all have a ring of stamens oriented in a manner that dusts
visiting moths, proboscideally probing floral depths, and a pistil that moths must push
away while feeding.

So I would vote for moths pollinating Pamianthe. The matter could be settled by
observation. I would be willing to undertake an expedition to observe Pamianthe in
habitat during bloom season. Since that would be somewhat unpredictable, I would need to
spend quite a bit of time there. If anybody would like to sponsor me, please contact me.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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