Floral Biology by M. Percival (Auth.)

By M. Percival (Auth.)

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Extra resources for Floral Biology

Sample text

In 25 THE BIOLOGY OF THE FLORAL PARTS (see Chapter IX); coronas in the form of small scales, tufts of hairs or pouches narrow the mouth of the corolla tube in many of the Boraginaceae. The yellow corona of Myosotis against the blue petals furnishes a recognizable contrast for the eye of the honey-bee. The passion flowers have coronas of up to five rings of bright banded fringes: the outer are said to harbour FIG. 14. Asclepias tuberosa. T h e coronal cups, with horn like process, secrete abundant nectar.

This pollen is largely removed by the bird visitors and used in cross-pollination : it does, however, give a chance of autogamy at a later stage, if any of it remains. The secretion which renders the stigma sticky varies in amount. In apples, pears, and stone fruits a FIG. 27a. Echeveria retusa hybrida, Crassulaceae. Flower in anthesis and with a bead of nectar oozing from each stigma. χ 3 · 6 . slight moistness is all that is discernible. In the Magnolias and the Black Poplar, it may attract insect pollinators, as in both these plants the fluid oozing out is quite abundant and sweet.

Whichever agency is employed in pollination, the plant is usually a passive partner in the transaction. Beyond the display of its "goods for sale", the flower remains static; but, as always in biology, there are numerous exceptions to the rule. These are not entirely confined to the animal-pollinated flowers; there is the rare case of participation by the explosive discharge of pollen into the air in the anemophilous Ricinus communis and 53 FLORAL BIOLOGY Parietaria diffusa which is described elsewhere, and Jaeger (1961), citing Wettstein, describes how the whole male flower of Mercurialis annua is hurled from the plant by the pressure of the reflexed sepals against the main axis, which causes the delicate pedicel to fracture.

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