Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - tropical springiness

It's been awhile since there's been a FFF posted. Tropical plants do something sort of strange each year.  A lot of them flower in late February or March in the glasshouse, yet most of them are thought to be day-neutral for flowering.  This means that they don't need long nights to stimulate flowering, yet that's just how they act. Of course the glasshouse is also warming up a little and getting a lot sunnier.  At any rate here's a member of the Bignoniaceae, a family of largely tropical trees, shrubs, and lianas, a family with fairly large, pretty colorful flowers. The trees and shrubs also tend flower in a big-bang of blooms making for some pretty spectacular displays. This shrub is called the Cape Honeysuckle (terrible name that points to the wrong family), Tecomaria capensis, a fairly common ornamental, in fact probably in the category of UTF, ubiquitous tropical flora. But it's just so cheerful, so bright, such a welcome relief from the bitter cold and bleakness outside. You should be able to guess that such flowers are adapted for bird pollination based on the color, the lack of odor (scratch & sniff), and the exserted stamens and stigma.  Enjoy!

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