Crocosmia pollination
Mon, 14 Nov 2005 22:42:50 PST
Jane's comments on hummingbird visitation to Crocosmia 'Lucifer' are very
interesting (and her planting combination sounds lovely!). The stiff
branched inflorescence of  one of the parents, C. paniculata, is adapted for
pollination by perching sunbirds (no hummers in the Old World), with the red
tubular flowers being the classic shape for bird pollination, as does the
gorgeous C. pearsei at higher elevation in the Drakensberg. Sunbird
visitation has been observed for both of these, according to Goldblatt et
al. in their book 'Crocosmia and Chasmanthe'. The more open, orange or
yellow flowers of other species, including C. masoniorum (the other parent
of 'Lucifer') are adapted for butterfly pollination, while a few species are
bee-pollinated. Goldblatt et al. actually cite 'Lucifer' as an example of
the 'transferability' of the bird pollination syndrome between continents
and bird families.

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens

Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP


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