Thursday, May 15, 2008

Projectile Pollen

Bog laurel, Kalmia polifolia.

One of the commoner plants in our local bog is the small evergreen shrub, bog laurel, Kalmia polifolia. It often grows among Labrador Tea, a fellow member of the Ericaceae (Heaths).

It has eye-catching pink flowers, and they contain a surprise, a botanical equivalent to snakes-in-the-peanut-can. The anthers are embedded in notches in the petals, and are held under tension. When a bee or other insect lands on a petal, the anther springs out, dusting the insect with pollen.

Maybe it’s not equivalent to the peanut can snakes. Maybe it’s more like stepping on a rake.


Chrisss said...

Pretty but deadly :-)

Lets Plant said...

Great pictures!! I love your blog, I am going to add it to my blogroll!! That is funny that you dubbed people being afraid of nature, it is sooo true!! Most people are so spoiled I wouldn't like to see them if anything happened to where they couldn't just go buy whatever they needed!! lol!! The bee on my head is just pollinating my brain!! lol!!!