Google+ Rurousha 流浪者: A very pernickety little flower

Thursday, 28 February 2013

A very pernickety little flower

Remember my post about the fynbos of the Western Cape? I included a photo of a mysterious pink flower that we couldn't identify. My niece Magriet, who's another veldt expert, has come to our rescue. Dankie, Magriet!

Sea rose (Orphium frutescens)

The flower is a sea rose or Orphium frutescens, a perfect example of so-called buzz pollination. Wot dat? That's when an insect, usually a bee, vibrates its wings on just the right frequency, which causes the flower ananthers to vibrate, thus releasing pollen. The sea rose, though, is very fussy. It won't flirt with just any old bee. Nope, it has to be the South African carpenter bee.

Pollen-covered carpenter bee. Image: Wikipedia.

Carpenter bee in a sea rose. Image: Colin Paterson-Jones.

This BBC article has a great headline: Bee is key to flower power. Dang. I wish I'd written that! You can also see a BBC video about this particular South African flower, delivered in a delicious Scottish accent by Professor Iain Stewart, here:

30 comments:

  1. Wait!

    Lemme google up what's pernickety first. Hmph

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Americans apparently say persnickety, but Britannia rules, says I. ^^

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  2. Good God!

    Such fussy flower.

    A wonder it's not on a brink of extinction or anything.

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  3. Even your carpenter bees are handsome besides the unique & exotic flowers. The sea roses must be sweet to attract the bees. Are they fragrant too?

    South Africa is truly an amazing place!

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    Replies
    1. I can't remember whether the sea rose has a nice fragrance. I photographed it in the Harold Porter Botanical Garden, and what I remember about that afternoon is the fresh smell of the ocean and the warm, sweet, heady smell of gazillions of flowers. It was just after we'd visited the penguin colony, which didn't smell sweet at all! :p

      Yup, rather special, that country under the far southern stars. :)

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  4. Yay! Hurrah for humble Orphium frutescens, thanks for giving him his own post. That windy riverside where mr Stewart delivers his explanation happens to be right on the edge of Kleinmond by the way. He must have chosen just about the windiest day of the year for that, usually it's very much nicer!

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    1. Ek was erg opgepluk oor die blommetjie se volnonsensgeit. Soort soek soort? :p

      Which edge - towards Hermanus or Betty's Bay? Isn't it close-ish towards that first walk that we did? You know, the trail that I wanted to return to, but then there just wasn't enough time?

      The Cape without wind wouldn't be the Cape, so that's OK too. ^^

      THANKS SO MUCH! You basically wrote this post! xxx

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  5. Welcome back! But it's a little bit late greeting,I wonder?
    Sea rose is lovely besides marvelous. Nature has a lot of mysterious. How did sea rose and carpenter bees come across, I wonder.
    Thank you for an interesting topic.
    Have a nice day!

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    Replies
    1. It's never too late to be welcomed home. Thanks, Sarah! :)

      I hope the sea rose and the carpenter bee will have a long, happy relationship! It's the loveliest story I've read in a long time. ^^

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  6. A flower with high standards? I like it! ;D

    I remember the sudden bee drought we had here in Japan. Queen bees were being sold at ridiculous prices. This article actually made me curious to see if the bees are back to their normal numbers again.

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    Replies
    1. There was a bee drought? Yes, this calls for research and a post. Nudge nudge hint hint. ;)

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  7. Nice captures1 The first photo of Sea rose is very beautiful.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

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    Replies
    1. I like the little spider on the flower! ^^

      Thanks, Minoru-sensei. You, too!

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  8. Many thanks for your wonderful posts on South Africa's fauna and flora. I really enjoyed reading the posts on them. Your penguins look so cute! The plants there were new to me and I found them so interesting. I once read about the plants in Australia on one of my friends' blog and found out that some of your flowers look like some of hers.
    Love the color of mysterious sea roses!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Australia and South Africa share many similarities - from climate to rugby! :D

      I'm planning a few more South Africa posts about Cape Town, our wine industry and our lifestyle; but I'll alternate them with Japan stories. :)

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  9. Oh the bees without the birds haha. Also panic gotta google..hm a fusspot flower eh. Hope you are OK not getting too close for comfort with the pollen to trigger your hay fever.

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    1. "The birds without the bees"? That made me laugh! :D

      Yesterday was very windy, so hay fever sufferers in Tokyo (30% of the population!!!) were sniffling miserably. Today, same story. So far I've escaped the worst, i.e. I can control the irritation with antihistamines, but I suspect I'll have to start using a nasal spray soon. Blah. (>_<)

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  10. Beautiful little flower! I was thinking it looked sort of like a dogwood flower almost, but that is just me showing my homesickness (dogwood is the provincial flower of BC, and we have a lovely one outside our house in Vancouver).

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    1. Quick ... Google ...

      Yes, it does look like a dogwood flower with a few extra petals! :)

      Are you homesick? I've been quite busy at work since I've returned, so I haven't had time to mope. Just as well.

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    2. I'm not really homesick, but somehow the dogwood makes me pause...

      Do you find you get homesick right after you get back? I find I'm happy to be back at first, and it takes a few weeks or a month before it hits...

      Good luck with work!

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    3. I found it surprisingly difficult to adjust to Tokyo this time. (I'm talking about the first few days.) I think it's because my holiday was in a very small village, surrounded by mountains and ocean, in summer. It was hard to return to a very cold, very grey, very artificial city.

      This time I was really struck by the difference in lifestyle: natural, casual, outdoors vs controlled, formal, indoors.

      You know me: I'm a summer person.

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    4. The seasonal change must have been tough! I don't have that problem with Canada, although our last trip was in the summer and coming back to Tokyo's oppressive heat was really really tough!

      Are you able to escape to the mountains on the weekends? Or are you spending it all in Kuki? ;)

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    5. I'm freezing! I can't wait for August!

      I haven't become a Kuki mall rat yet. ;) A fishing trip might be coming up - is probably coming up - this weekend, but let's not get the cart before the horse. Err. The boat before the fish? We wanted to go last weekend, but it was too cold and windy, even for a fisherman who's visibly impatient and raring to go.

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    6. I guess my fisherman is in remission, or rather has become a mountain man as he (and I) are raring to get out for a hike (hopefully in combo with a Toshogu or two). Spring is in the air!

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    7. The fisherman will do his fishing thing and the yamauba will do her yama thing in this particular story. :D The only problem is: he wants to start (lake) fishing at 4 am. I don't want to start hiking in the dark, and I ain't going nowhere on no icy lake at 4 am, so ... this could get interesting.

      PS: No, Sarah, no. I'm NOT going kayaking while The Hero's fishing. No. Not in early March, not at 4 am. No.

      PPS: I took photos for you at Zōjō-ji this morning. You know what of, don't you? ;) Now I just want to find the photos I took a few years ago when the graveyard was open to the public.

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    8. 4 am?! You kidding me? That is waaaaaay to early for kayaking!

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    9. It turns out he wants to leave Tokyo at 4 am so that he can start fishing by 6 at the latest. That still means a hike from 6 am till 4 pm for me. My poor feet! (>_<)

      Anyway. So 4 am is too early for you, too? I'm relieved to hear a vestige of sanity has remained. Heh heh.

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  11. Hello Rurousha,
    Actually I was off blogging for a while because of my father's sudden departure from this world last month and followed by the arrival of my first grandson this month. I am experiencing the wonder of life relay.

    I am catching up posts I've missed but I still need more time to read them all.
    I found this post very intriguing. How incredible and amazing the natural scheme is! I also think the name of "carpenter bee" is interesting. It has been building up an intimate partnership just like making a hard stable house.
    You are quite right in saying "delicious Scottish accent" of Professor's^^

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    1. Hallo! When I read about your father's death followed by your grandson's birth, I can't help but believe in reincarnation! I'm sorry about your dad's death. I hope he was pain-free and at peace until the end.

      I'm not sure why the carpenter bee is called that, but ... it's related to Japan's クマバチ! It's a very big bee, just like its Asian cousin.

      You also like a Scottish accent? I love it!

      It's good to hear from you again. I wish you all the best with all your family activities. Remember to stop to smell the flowers, sometimes. ^^

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