Wednesday, April 24, 2019

AKA swamp lanterns

I did find those skunk cabbages. Behind a stand of salmonberry canes, on the far side of a slippery, muddy creek. Not accessible from the trail system. Typical skunk cabbage behaviour. (I passed another thickly-populated patch in a separate wetland yesterday. It was just as unreachable without jungle-whacking tools and high rubber boots.)

Two loners had separated themselves from the pack. I could get close to one, in camera range from the next.

This one was on my side of the creek. Fresh and new, with small leaves. The leaves around it, down in the mud, are creeping buttercup, an invasive species.

The spadix and its enclosing spathe. The white flowers are lined up along the spadix.

Flowers:
Inflorescence of numerous, densely packed, perfect flowers in a cylindric spike 7-12 cm long, the spike on a 30- to 50-cm long stalk and subtended by a yellowish bract similar to the leaves in shape but much smaller ... (E-Flora) (my emphasis)

"Perfect flowers" just means that they include male and female parts, but I'm sure the beetles find them perfect based on different criteria. The flowers have four petals, closely clasped around the centre.

The skunky smell attracts flies and beetles, which pollinate the flowers. It is rare to find a flower spike without them; this one is new, and seems not to have gathered any yet.

Another young plant, with one mature flower spike, two hidden new ones. And more buttercups.


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