Jan. 21, 2017

sheep laurel, Kalmia angustifolia

In the handsome Harry image, I mentioned plants that have hollow anthers which bees have to vibrate to get pollen out. Laurel takes that pollination strategy and kicks it up a couple notches. Just above middle on the right edge here you can see a flower opening, with just the pistil sticking out. At this stage, only cross pollination can occur. You will also notice this bumps on the outside of the bud. When fully open, these are notches on the inside that hold the anthers. The anthers stay in those notches, with the filaments bent back under tension. When a bee like a bumble bee lands, and tries to reach nectar in the bottom of the flower, the anthers spring loose and shower pollen. Looking closely at the upper left flower, you can see the holes in the anther that enable this. Finally, the bees vibrate to loosen more pollen. This laurel grows in bogs and other wet acidic sites in CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY(V), PA, RI VA, VT, WV, LB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and SPM. Hartwick Pines State Park, Crawford Co MI, 6/30/11