Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brunsvigia josephinae--Josephine's Lily

This weird, lilyish-looking plant is now blooming at the UC Botanical Garden. Part of its weirdness is the lack of leaves; like the naked lady, it has no leaves when it is in bloom. It flowers in late summer when rains won't dilute the nectar. Then the leaves and seeds grow when the rains come in the fall. Another part of its weirdness is the interesting curves in the stems that support the flowers. Seems like all these characteristics that make it look strange to us make it very attractive to the sugarbirds which pollinate it. The sugarbirds of South Africa don't hover like hummingbirds. They need a landing platform, which the Josephine's Lily has conveniently provided just below the flower. Cool, huh?

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