Saturday, February 27, 2010

Variations on a theme, Part III

Chrysanthemum coronarium, known locally as 'Lellux', is an extremely common plant preferring to grow in 'disturbed' habitats like fields and degraded garigue. Around this time of the year it colours whole landscapes as carpets of flowers are produced to compete for pollinating insects, one of which is the beetle Oxythyrea funesta (Poda, 1761), shown below.

As can be seen in the above photograph, the colour of the flower is a bright yellow bordering on orange. This is generally common for most individuals; such a noticeable array of petals contributes to frequent pollination and therefore the yellow flowers are selected for, passing on their genes. Despite this, as in all other organisms, genetic variations that contribute to a different flower appearance do pop up from time to time. The most common of these variations is a dichroic scheme to the petals, with a discoloured (white) area appearing over part of the flower's diameter, the extent of which varies from one affected flower to another.

Most of the time, these aberrations consist of solid bands of colours, though a few may show small yellow flecks scattered over the white area.

Very rarely, the white and the bright yellow colours are not separated from each other, but mixed evenly throughout the flower, resulting in a pale yellowish flower that is far less conspicuous than usual ones.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...