Oct. 12, 2020

butter-and-eggs, Linaria vulgaris

Butter-and-eggs is a beautiful curiosity to me. Everything I've read says they are bumblebee pollinated. That makes sense because only husky bees could force the closed lip open. But then why have those nectar rich tubes that also attract moths? There is mention of the moths that feed there, but so far I have seen no explanation of the advantage of that for the plant. Certainly bumblebee tongues can reach into the tubes. They are up to two centimeters long. So maybe the moths are just opportunistic, and able to push their longer tongues through the closed opening? Butter-and-eggs is also a classic example of non-genetic inheritance. Not all of our traits are passed from one generation to the next in our genes. We also pass along proteins that are not part of our DNA, but can affect the expression and functioning of genetic characters. The radially symmetric variety of butter-and-eggs is such an instance. Those plants have a protein that inhibits the gene that controls flower shape. Butter-and-eggs has a long flowering period. Here in Michigan flowers have been found from May to October. Butter-and-eggs is a Eurasian native that now grows in every state except HI, every province except LB, and on GL and SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 10/9/20. Plantain family, Plantaginaceae.