Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lilium stamens and a Sword-grass Brown Butterfly

I promised to show images of the freshly opened pollen from the stamens of the Oriental Liliums out the front of my house.
This is the same flower as I photographed several days ago. It has developed a pink blush as the flower ages.
These stamens of a neighbouring hot-pink Oriental Lilium are more mature, and at the point which anyone who has ever had Liliums as cut-flowers in the house will know, these stamens drop their pollen with stains clothing and table-cloths very strongly, in much the same way as Saffron does. Hardly surprising - the stain comes from pollen released from strongly coloured stamens - one from these Lilies, the other from a Crocus.
For a technical discussion of pollination of Lilium flowers click here
For a clear image of the female part of the Lilium flower click here

In the case of the pink Lilium and the white (pale pink one)
the "stigmas" (the receptive tips of the female part of the two flowers)
are different colours in the two flowers. (see above images).
One is white, the other dark pinkish grey.
I have no idea why there is such a strong colour difference
between closely related plants - both varieties of the same species.

This is what the full flower head looks like.
Now this is a different Butterfly from any which I get in my yard.
It was trapped inside a friend's window today.
I am familiar with this Butterfly, the Sword-grass Brown Butterfly
as I have seen it locally at Carrington Falls and Manning's Lookout.
This Butterfly is typically found in moist Sandstone country.
Today, this Butterfly was released gently outside by my friend's daughter, who gently cupped her hands around the butterfly, and took it outside and released it. She then stood there in a moment of satisfied awe, and watched the liberated Butterfly fly safely away.
A lovely moment - the gift of freedom.
A memory of an impromptu gentle gesture which I shall treasure.


mick said...

Hi Denis, your photos always make me go outside and have another look at similar flowers in my garden. So - thanks! Without a proper macro lens any photos I take don't look quite the same :-( Never mind - I know what they should be!!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Close up is where the real mystery begins!
I love using a 10 power magnifying lens - which you can pick up at some opticians, or Australian Geographic Shops or even stamp collector shops.
Alternatively, turn your binoculars around, and hold the lens really close (right up against) a flower.
Hard to control, but you will get the hang of it.

Gaye from the Hunter said...

Hello Denis,

a lovely story of the Sword-grass Brown Butterfly and the gentleness and wonder of a child. Thank you for sharing that treasured moment.

I have seen the Sword-grass Brown Butterfly on the Central Coast, but not in the Hunter Valley. Of course, I put that down to not having come across much Sword-grass.

Albany weather has turned damp today, I am catching up on reading my favourite blogs.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye
A treasured moment indeed.
Glag you appreciated it.