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Friday, August 16, 2013

Why so glandular?

These pictures are thanks to Lewis's sharp eyes.  I'm so glad he pointed out this intriguing wildflower!  It was growing along the coastal bluff on Bodega Head.  I photographed it today, 16 August 2013.


This is California Orobanche (Orobanche californica).  It's a native perennial with an interesting mode of living.  It doesn't photosynthesize, but instead is parasitic on other plants (in this case, especially species in the Asteraceae family).

The next view is a bit closer and from a slightly different angle:


I was very curious about the yellow linings on the lower petals (see below).  Could they be insect attractants, functioning like runways for potential pollinators?


The other thing I noticed about Orobanche today is that it's covered with glandular hairs.  And I mean covered.  When you look closely there are little droplets everywhere!  They're small, so hard to see in these photos, but the following image highlights some of the glandular hairs along the petal margins.  Why so glandular?


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