puncturing tube flowers

Subject: puncturing tube flowers
From: "John Leonard" <>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 09:08:03 +0000
Carol Probets wrote:
As an aside to this interesting question, I believe that introduced
honeybees will sometimes make a hole in the base of the floral tube of some
bird pollinated plants in order to access the nectar, bypassing the pollen
and thereby reducing seed set. This would especially be the case with
narrow tubular flowers such as epacris and some grevilleas, normally
pollinated by spinebills and other long-billed honeyeaters. (end)

and Trevor Quested added:
About 20 years ago at Mt Wilson in the Blue Mountains National Park, NSW,
Athol Colemane and I watched a Crescent Honeyeater puncture the side of a
Lambertia formosa (a tube flower) and feed.  There were Eastern Spinebills
feeding from the top of the same flowers nearby.  We went around checking
other flowers in the area and several had been punctured.

I'd also be surprised if various native Australian insects hadn't discovered this trick as well.

John Leonard (Dr)
PO Box 243, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia

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