Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lilies


The lilies are blooming, and they are miraculous. A new one seems to peel open between one eyeblink and the next.

There are two kinds in my garden (not counting daylilies and lilies of the valley): tiger lilies and white ones. The white lilies I grew from buds or seeds from a neighbour's plant, and it has taken them three years—until this morning—to flower, so I'm pretty pleased.










So was this ant, who had a lot of business to take care of in the centre of this flower. Check out the "antennae" dangling from her chin, more on which later…

Here's a closeup of the purple markings on the petals:


The anthers hang delicately from the stamens on little hinges, so that the least touch or breath of wind makes them tremble, knocking pollen over everything in the vicinity. Bees visiting these lilies are literally fluorescent orange all over their bottom half—I think they must visit these flowers just for their copious pollen, since I don't see any nectar.


The anthers start out closed, and gradually unfurl until they are flat like two oblong dinner plates filled with food, which for some I suppose they are:



And here's the pollen itself:



Closer...


My next purchase is going to have to be a microscope ;-)

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