Friday, April 12, 2013

Carrion Flower

Stapelia grandiflora, Carrion Flower

Flower bud before opening
For a week now I have been waiting for this massive balloon shaped bud to open and it finally did so today. This succulent plant is well known for emitting the smell of rotting meat so as to attract flies to pollinate it, hence the name carrion flower.
 It did not disappoint as three different species of flies were in attendance when I took these photos. This admission to observing flies may bring the accusation of my having too much time on my hands, or, of me finally having gone completely bonkers. Yes, guilty as charged....
So the common housefly, Musca domestica,  didn't wait around long when I made my presence felt, obviously preferring to be inside lurking on the kitchen bench.The brown blowfly, the 'blowie' or Calliphora stygia preferred to hang out on the petals keeping his eye on the pair of green bottle flies, Lucillia sericata,who were doing most of the pollination work.The 'green bottles' do have a wonderful iridescent sheen to their bodies but their reputation for coming to the aid of forensic detectives at crime scenes doesn't make them the most lovable of creatures.

 Open flower as seen from behind
 Hairy petal edges

 Unique star shaped flower centre
 Green bottle flies doing their pollination duties
 A large brown blowfly waiting in the wings

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