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User / Rana Pipiens
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N 25 B 189 C 8 E Jun 14, 2019 F Jun 15, 2019
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Long Hoverflies are amazingly 'fruitful' insects. They have around 7 or 8 generations every Summer. That must take a lot of energy. And our Bramble, Blackberry, is one of the suppliers of the necessary nectar and protein.
Here's a natural double portrait!

Tags:   insect hoverfly Long Hoverfly Bramble Rubus fruticossus Gaasperplaspark, Amsterdam, The Netherlandsm nectar pollen flower energy Sphaerophoria scripta

N 37 B 465 C 13 E Jun 14, 2019 F Jun 14, 2019
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Examining one of Joseph Banks's herbariums just arrived from South Africa - so tells us The Botanical Magazine of 1787 - James Lee (1715-1795) - nursery man of Hammersmith - came upon a dried specimen of what was then called 'Geranium lanceolatum'. He was immediately struck by the spear-shaped foliage (see inset), quite unusual for Pelargoniums. Looking even more closely he noticed some dried seeds; these he took home to his nursery and carefuilly reared them. Thus he may be credited the first to have introduced Lanceolatum to Britain.
Lee was far more than a nurseryman and horticulturalist. He also immersed himself in the botanical literature of his time and was strongly gripped by great Linnaeus's work. He decided that it must be given a general public in England and produced An Introduction to Botany. Containing an explanation of the theory of that science extracted from the works of Dr Linnaeus in 1760. That book is basically a translation of Linnaean works.
I saw this blindingly white bloom in the amply watered greenhouse in our Hortus as the skies above inundated the garden, chasing me indoors.

Tags:   Pelargonium lanceolatum Geranium lanceolatum Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam, The Netherlands South Africa 'The Botanical Magazine' Hammersmith, England, UK James Lee Carolus Linnaeus Spear-leaved Pelargonium Joseph Banks flower seed FantasticFlower

N 31 B 510 C 13 E Jun 13, 2019 F Jun 13, 2019
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Yes, that's really a long flower pistil. Our Lady stands high above the male stamens carrying pollen to be distributed to other flowers by Day-lily's pollinators.
Why that distance? It is thought that this structuring decreases the chance of self-pollination. Insects are less likely to brush off on the sticky pistil head Flower's own pollen, and the wind carrying any pollen likely blows sideways not upward.
Self-pollination can be useful, but - as in human sexuality - it may also cause mutations and it reduces diversity.

PS Flickr's mapping function drives me furious. It often doesn't work right. 'Amsterdam' has today become 'A mysterious place with no name'. Help...! Crazy, no?!

Tags:   Mysterious place with no name Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Orange Day-lily stamen pistil pollen pollinator Hemerocallis fulva self-pollination flickr map sexuality diversity mutation flower

N 40 B 565 C 13 E Jun 12, 2019 F Jun 12, 2019
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You're more likely in your garden to see these beautifully marked Caterpillars than the Flying Form of Water Betony Moth, which is kind of drab albeit intricate, and moreover flits at night. And Caterpillar's life is much longer, too. It forages about on favorite plants like this Figwort for a month or so, and in Pupal State Betony lives in the ground up to five years before emerging to take flight.
Caterpillar can be quite a pest, stripping plants bare to sate its voracious appetite. See its mandibles in the upper right inset. The lower left one shows the pair of so-called anal prolegs or claspers which are used to move along plant stems. Between them is the anal plate.

Tags:   Mullein Moth Cucullia scrophulariae Water Betony Moth Common Figwort Scrophularia nodosa Caterpillar moth Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam, The Netherlands pupae anal proleg anal plate mandibles

N 45 B 559 C 24 E Jun 11, 2019 F Jun 11, 2019
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Pitcher Plants are, of course, carnivorous. Insects attracted by the sweet-edged pitchers fall in and are drowned in the digestive pool at the bottom. There the Plant - which produces far too little in enzymes for digestion itself - is helped commensally by tiny invertebrates such as the larvae of mosquitoes and midges; and by various bacteria and protozoa. The resulting stew is the life's blood, so to speak, of our Pitcher Plant.
The photo shows none of this. Here rather is a Sarracenia flower. Those flowers stand high about the Pitchers and one might think pollinating insects could inadvertently fall into one, intent as they are on gathering proteins from the pollen and nectar. You've probably seen the way many pollinators seem to tumble around. To prevent such a Fall, the flower of the Pitcher Plant has ingenuously developed a kind of Catching Cup - clearly visible in the photo - just under its pistil and stamens. Thus the Plant has the best of two worlds: it safely attracts insects for the pollination of its flowers and others yet for its Pitcher for food.

Tags:   Sarracenia purpurea Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam, The Nettherlands Purple Pitcher Plant pollinator mosquitoes midges enzymes digestion flower bacteria pistil stamen pollination


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