piaba piabinha@yahoo.com
Thu, 27 Oct 2005 10:50:04 PDT
rogan wrote:
> the wiki.  Disa pulchra is a fascinating plant
> indeed and is a wonderful example
> of one plant imitating another (Batesian mimicry).
> In the wild D.pulchra
> flowers at the same time and occupies the same
> habitats as Watsonia
> densiflora and indeed looks very similar when in
> flower. The story goes
> that pollinators attracted to the Watsonia flowers
> mistakenly pollinate
> the disas as well, but receive no pollen or nectar
> rewards in return. As
> far as is known the watsonias derive no benefit from
> this relationship
> at all, but the disas undoubtably do as sooner or
> later the insects will
> be fooled by other Disa flowers and
> cross-pollination will take place.

cameron replied:
> I concur with your story of
> the ollination of Disa pulchra.  In the Amatola
> mountains in the Eastern Cape there are two pink
> subjects flowering together with Disa pulchra in
> December - both of which fool me from a distance and
> perhaps fool the pollinators.  The one is Watsonia
> amatolae, a local endemic related to W. desiflora
> and the other is Dierama igneum - both are the same
> height and the identical pink shade.  You will
> notice from the Wicki pictures two distinct forms of
> Disa pulchra - the form on Mt. Kemp is quite
> different in general shape  to the Mt. Thomas form.

this reminds me of a couple of mimicry examples i've
witnessed in brazil, both involving orchids.  there is
a vine (Peixotoa or Stimagtophyllum, in the
Malpighiaceae), a common roadside weed, which has
yellow flowers just like Oncidium orchids!  there are
also a few species of reed-stemmed Epidendrum orchids
(may be in a new genus by now, i don't keep up with
orchids as much anymore) with bright red flowers
(sometimes with yellow lips) -- some growing in pure
sand in beaches -- that resemble common roadside
weeds, Asclepias (curassavica?).  

now, as to which plant is mimicking which, i do not know.

tsuh yang

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