Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Botany picture(s) #229: Stylidium from Western Australia

The Australian genus Stylidium is remarkable for its moving floral column. When an insect visits the flower, this column is released and hits the visitor like a little hammer. The mechanism has given the genus the common name triggerplants. Above is the largest species of the genus, Stylidium schoenoides, commonly called cow kicks, photographed in Western Australia in 2012.

And at the other end of the spectrum, there are plants like these, also photographed on the same field trip. I do not know what species it is nor if its column is still functional, but it is another Stylidium. Extreme miniaturisation and very short life-cycles, often accompanied by self-pollination, are a common adaptation strategy to highly irregular rainfall in the Australian arid zone.


  1. I think the little one was Levenhookia from memory. This was at the Western Flora caravan park in Eneabba.

    1. Okay, not a Stylidium then, darn. But still same family, and I have seen an even smaller Stylidium in NSW, so the point stands...

  2. I'm just going from memory not ID so it still might be a Stylidium. I also remember wondering at the time how small the pollen is on small flowers. If a flower becomes minaturaised does the pollen also shrink down with all of the other flower parts, or does it just produce a limited number of the same sized pollen.