Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Psychoda seeks Cuckoo Pint - Update - The story has almost ended

The Psychoda is a type of fly that has a penchant for the Cuckoo Pint (photo below), an Arum growing in the woods. The Cuckoo Pint has an unusual set up; the purple coloured club (inside the whitish flower) emits an offensive odour when ripe. That odour attracts the Psychoda which are tempted deep into the inflorescence. Once they enter the chamber they become imprisoned as escape is prevented by radiating hairs pointing downwards and filling the neck of the spathe. Eventually when the flower is pollinated, the Psychoda are sprinkled with pollen but must wait until the club begins to rot in order to make their escape back into the wide world. They then set off to pollinate other flowers. The Psychoda do not appear to suffer any damage from their temporary imprisonment as they while away the time gorging on the plentiful nectar within the chamber.

Of course there is a long list of lessons and analogies to be made from this natural wonder but I shall leave that to your imaginations! Please do have one as life is very boring without creative thought!

Photo copyright SvD. Today in the woods and yes, it was RAINING! Cold and wet summer awaits....

Update: It seems that the flowers have been pollinated, the club has rotted away and Elvis has also left the building: the flies have escaped! One can see how the flies escaped upwards but what of the mysterious teeth marks on the walls of the chamber (where the pollinated flower is visible)?

Update: 30th June: here is the pollinated Cuckoo Pint flower which has turned to fruit. Watch this space....

Latest photo: July 27th 2013:

And so, all things must come to their end. The psychoda were fated to pollinate the secretive cuckoo pint. The luscious, ripened red fruit will soon be gone. One can almost hear Shakespeare: "Men must endure their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all." (King Lear) We will have to wait another 12 months to return to this very moment again, if ever.
August 16 2013

August 16 2013

August 16 2013

Photos copyright SvD.

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