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.