Field of Science

Friday fabulous flower - a Bignon

Bignoniacae, the bignon family, are largely tropical trees and lianas, and most of them have large showy flowers adapted to different pollinators.  Catalpa trees and trumpet creeper are our temperate members of this family.  Here's one of my captive tropical bignons, Tecomaria capensis, a species widely used as an ornamental in warmer climates.  This is just such a classic example of a flower adapted to hummingbird pollination.  It's fairly large, it's oriented laterally, it's bright red, has ample nectar, and is scentless.  The corolla is highly asymmetrical with the lateral and lower corolla lobes folded back and an over arching upper corolla lobe.  The stigma is exerted to contact the bird's head as it arrives, and as the bird moves in closer to get it's beak and tongue down into the corolla tube, then the head contacts the two pair of anthers picking up more pollen.  It's a great showy plant and a cheerful mid-winter display.

1 comment:

Beth at PlantPostings said...

That is a beauty, and seems perfectly suited to hummingbirds. I agree, it's a cheery sight in midwinter!