Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Melastomataceae of Central America | A place to share information about the Melastomataceae of Central America

Melastomataceae of Central America | A place to share information about the Melastomataceae of Central America

A little while ago (January 4, 2012 to be exact), I received some photographs from my good friend, foremost expert on the Flora of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, and collaborator of this site, Reinaldo Aguilar. "Rei" as we call him, lives in Los Charcos de Osa where he leads his own research station. Miconia osaensis .

The photographs I am about to share, are a selection of all the ones Rei took between 3:33 and 6:39 am of that day. They show the opening of the flower of the melastome Blakea maurofernandeziana (which occurs in Guerrero and Oaxaca in Mexico, and from Nicaragua to Panama) from flower bud to fully opened flower. During that process you will notice, among other things, how the style starts out straight and then bends towards one side. This is how you usually encounter this flower, with the style bent to one side. It always seems to be bent to the same side.

Another interesting aspect of this species is how the yellow area in the stamens, which is known to attract bees, is not where the anther pores from where the pollen Come out of are situated. This suggests that these flowers are deceptive and at least try to trick the bees when they visit. Then you will see the female orchid bee of the genus Euglossa visiting the flowers. Because of the still frames, it is impossible to see them buzzing them, but they do. That's how they shake the pollen out of the stamens to take to their larvae and feed them. Lastly, in the last frames, you will notice the stigma with pollen deposited on it. We are not sure if that pollen is from another individual of the same species of plant but it might and that's likely how this plant gets pollinated.

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Thank you King! For your time, patience and willingness to share these amazing observations!

Another interesting aspect in this species is how the yellow zone in the stamens, which is known to attract bees, is not located where the pores through which the pollen exits. This suggests that perhaps these flowers at least try to fool the bees when they are visited. Then you will see a female bee of the orchids of the genus Euglossa visiting the flowers. Because the photos are static, it is impossible to see bees buzzing the flowers, but they do. This is how they get the pollen out of the anthers to take it away and feed it to the larvae. In the last photos, you will notice the stigma with pollen deposited on it. We are not sure if the pollen is from an individual of the same species but it is possible and that is how this species is possibly pollinated.

Thank you Rei! For your time, patience, and desire to share these incredible observations!

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