Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Clusia

Nothing like a tropical flower to brighten a February Friday. This is Clusia uvitana (Clusiaceae or Guttiferae) and the whole plant is pretty interesting. This species can grow like a strangler fig where its seedlings sprout up in a tree, its roots growing down and its crown growing up until it replaces its former host. Like figs it exudes a latex when injured. Most of the species are dioecious (two-housed), which means pollen flowers and fruiting flowers on separate trees. The flowers are fairly large, in this case about 5 cm across when open, and the perianth is very waxy, looking quite artificial to some respect. Pollen and fruiting (this one) flowers look similar. But the most interesting thing is that a resin exudate is used as the floral reward for small bees(lower left, look closely) who collect it for nest building.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Fun to click on that to get the close up. That is a SMALL bee!