Apr. 25, 2018

prince's pine, Chimaphila umbellata

Why do flowers nod? They're certainly not shy. I very much suspect plants like prince's pine are making their petals do double duty. The colorful backs can bring pollinators to the vicinity. The petals can also act as umbrellas, keeping the business part of the flower dry. The pollinators, once in the neighborhood, will have no trouble bumbling around to find the nectar. And since these are buzz pollinated, keeping the cup like anthers from filling with water would be pretty important. Why then would such a clever plant want its leaves to taste like root beer? All that strategy to reproduce, only to be gathered up in large quantities to become a soft drink. I guess change comes first, then adaptation. Although it's hard to fault the very successful prince's pine. Also known as pipsissewa, it grows around the world in cool northern areas. These half inch flowers can be seen in AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, IA(T), ID, IL(E), IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY(V), OH(T), OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, and YT. Wilderness State Park, Emmet Co MI, 7/13/11.