Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Flora

Scarlet Sticky Monkeyflower.

One of life's great pleasures is tickling monkeyflower stigmas. You can see an example pretty well in the flower on the left, like white lips just under the top petals. An insect carrying pollen and landing on the flower will brush up against the lips before visiting the back of the flower. The insect could, while backing out of the flower, put pollen from the same flower back on the stigma. This self-pollination is undesirable, so as soon as the lips are tickled by the landing insect--or a human with a leaf of grass--the lips close tightly shut. Personally, I find this endlessly amusing. Perhaps it is not as good as trigger-plant (go to 1:25) or dogberry or mimosa, but it will suffice.

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