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<em>Hydnora africana</em>
Sherwin Carlquist Santa Barbara California USA
Hydnora africana
Hydnora africana
The inside of each of the three parianth segments (like sepals or petals) of Hydnora africana. Notice the bright organ color of these structures. On them are downwardly pointing hairs that are effective in directing beetles down into the lower portions of the flower, slowing the beetles from escaping from the flower. In this respect, Hydnora flowers are like the leaf of a pitcher plant (Sarracenia). The beetles are attracted to the flower of Hydnora by the scent emitted by the ivory-colored pad of tissue in the center. It emits an unpleasant dung-like odor. Not surprisingly, the beetles that are attracted are dung beetles. Even though this flower was on a plant cultivated in California, half a world away from where the plant is native in Africa, it attracted dung beetles. Very likely not the same kind of dung beetles as in Africa, but related. The pollination mechanism that occurs in the native habitat in Africa was thus duplicated, amazingly, in the cultivated plants.

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Botanical Society of America
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copyright: Carlquist, BSA
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Botanical Name
<em>Hydnora africana</em>
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