Judy Glattstein jglatt@ptd.net
Mon, 31 May 2004 05:50:46 PDT
A couple of times now I've heard this fabulous lecture on pollination
biology by Larry Mellichamp  who teaches at UNC in Charlotte, North Carolina
and hybridizes sarracenia for fun.

Bat pollinated plants are night blooming, often white flowered (though
that's often more applicable to moths) and, more importantly, tall - think
yuccas - so bats have an easy time getting at the flowers. Close to the
ground would be a problem.

Lots of flowers have yellow markings, called bee guides, to show insects the
way to pollen and nectar. Think of iris, where German iris have fuzzy
markings and I. versicolor has coloration at the base of the falls. We
humans see a portion of the spectrum egocentrically called "visible light."
Insects see further into the ultra violet. Using a black light will make any
such "hidden" markings visible to us.

Scent is a whole other technique - carrion/ rotting meat often coupled with
dark red flowers (Asarum canadense) attracts carrion beetles or flies, sweet
fragrances butterflies and bees.

Some flowers are bird-pollinated - and not just humming birds. I came across
a report that blue tits in England would enter the flowers of Fritillaria

It's a fascinating topic.

Judy in New Jersey where gray skies make me think that it's going to rain on
the parade today . . .

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