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View Diary: "Orchid Extravaganza 2011" at Longwood Gardens (Many Photos) (79 comments)

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  •  Orchids are amazing creatures (6+ / 0-)

    When I was in college at the University of Miami in Florida, I took a course titled "Ecology and Systematics."  One of the instructors was a professor by the name of Calaway Dodson who was somewhat of an expert on the orchids of the tropical rain forests of South America.  One of his lectures centered on these plants.  I will never forget his story of one particular plant, which grew in an area inhabited by a very territorial and aggressive species of bumblebee.  Biologists had noticed these bees repeatedly crashing into the blooms of these orchids, with little explanation.  However, these bees' eyes are sensitive to ultraviolet light.  When the orchid's blossoms are viewed under this light, there is an image of a bee right in the center of the flower.  So the aggressive bee attacks the image of his rival, and in the process, picks up a load of pollen.  Off he goes, until he sees another blossom of the same species, which he then attacks, whereupon he drops off his load of pollen.  Just an amazing example of the adaptation of two creatures to compliment each other's existence.

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