Video: Smithsonian horticulturalist Janet Draper discusses the pollination of the pelican flower

Flowers are usually associated with butterflies, but not the Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia grandiflora). This deciduous vine, native to Brazil, has large flowers that emit an odor of decaying flesh, which attracts flies and beetles. The insects then have to navigate the twists and turns of the flowers throat, which is covered with hairs that trap the insects inside. It is only when an insect removes the pollen sack that the hairs collapse, releasing the insect which will likely be fooled by another pelican flower into pollinating it.

 

 

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