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Adder’s Tongue

Trout Lily Flowering

Although at this time of year you often find the pollen- and nectar-consuming Red-necked False Blister Beetle visiting Trout Lily (also known as Dog-tooth Violet and Adder’s Tongue), bees are its most common pollen collectors. When a bee visits a Trout Lily flower, it usually removes half of the available pollen in one visit. After packing it into its pollen baskets the bee heads directly back to its hive to unload the pollen. Unfortunately for the Trout Lily, this hampers cross-pollination, as it severely limits the amount of pollen that reaches other Trout Lily flowers.

As compensation for the pollen-collecting habit of its apian visitors, Trout Lily has two sets of anthers – one set opens one day, the other opens the next, preventing a bee from collecting all the pollen from a given flower in one day, giving other insects the opportunity to cross-pollinate. (Photo:  Red-necked False Blister Beetle on Trout Lily.  Note beetle is on unopened anther; opened anther is to left of beetle.)

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