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! Max Oakland 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" <email@example.com> > Subject: Re: [pbs] hummingbirds > To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "'Pacific Bulb Society'" > <email@example.com> > 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.