Sprengelia propinqua

Bryant is again the author of today’s entry, and he writes:

A big thank you to Bill Higham (Bill Higham@Flickr) for contributing today’s image of Sprengelia propinqua via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Sprengelia propinqua, commonly known as western swampheath, is a member of the Ericaceae. It was previously thought to be within a single variable species, Sprengelia incarnata, but recently separated out as distinct species by some taxonomists. The species is endemic to Tasmania: Sprengelia propinqua distribution map.

Sprengelia propinqua and its close relative Sprengelia incarnata were both part of a 2011 study: Johnson, KA and PB McQuillan. Comparative floral presentation and bee-pollination in two Sprengelia species (PDF). Cunninghamia 12(1):45-51. This study provides additional justification for the cleaving of Sprengelia propinqua from Sprengelia incarnata, due to the observed differences in their antherial structures and pollen grains. These differences have caused the pollinators of both these species to employ differing techniques to harvest pollen from the nectar-less flowers. Pollinators who visited Sprengelia incarnata used the process of sonication to harvest pollen, whereas pollinators who visited Sprengelia propinqua tended to use a scraping technique to dislodge the slightly more cohesive pollen grains. In some cases, pollinators from the same genus (e.g., Exoneura or Lasioglossum) can employ these different techniques when visiting the respective species of Sprengelia.

Sprengelia propinqua

3 responses to “Sprengelia propinqua”

  1. Doug

    “Sonication” – how cool is that? Every new thing that I learn about the natural world further fills me with a sense of wonder and awe!

  2. Eric Hunt

    Sonication is how tomatoes are pollinated, too!
    I love this genus. I saw two species in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney:
    Sprengelia incarnata:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/3932395145/
    Sprengelia propinqua:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/3951923613/

  3. mona

    This is a very striking photograph. thank you for all the wonderful photos and explanations you post.

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