Jun. 1, 2020

veined skullcap, Scutellaria nervosa

Veiny skullcap flowers are smaller than most other skullcaps, on plants only about a foot tall. They're also paler and therefore brighter. Easy for pollinators to spot there in the shady woods? And how do pollinators see them, anyway? Do bugs, with their tiny compound eyes, have depth perception? Or do things appear as in this image, focused mostly in one plane? It has been believed that only those of us with a billion or more neurons in our brains have depth perception. It turns out that a million will do the trick, and even do it two different ways at the same time. In addition to the stereoscopic experience, at least some bugs also use a method that combines changes over time to perceive depth. So, yes, bright color helps but pollinators see very well. Bright colors may have more to do with competition with other flowers than with the visual acuity of their pollinators. Veiny skullcap is a woodland plant in AL, AR, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD(E), MI(T), MO, NC, NJ, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV, and ON. Chateau Nivale Preserve, Adams Co OH, 5/27/20. Mint family, Lamiaceae.