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A Plant that Behaves Like an Owl?

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As our day winds down and we relax in the comfort of our homes, nocturnal wildlife awake to start their day. But did you know that some wildflowers also begin their day in the evening? Yes, most plants bloom during the day and this attracts butterflies and bees that sip their nectar. This is the way the insects pollinate the flowers. Have you noticed how those flowers close at dusk. This prevents the evening and night flying insects from robbing the plants of important nectar. You seehe night flyers don’t have the right sized and shaped appendages to gather and distribute pollen for day plants to produce seeds.

However, the evening primrose blooms at dusk when the nocturnal sphinx moths appear. The length of the tongue of these moths kept pace with the elongation of the primrose tubes that hold the nectar. When these moths reach into the tubules, their tongues can just about reach the nectar and this causes the legs of the moth to touch the outstretched filaments laden with sticky pollen. When the moth carries the pollen to another plant, that pollen rubs off fertilizing the flower. If the primrose bloomed by day, many of the daytime insects would rob nectar from the plant without pollinating its flowers.

So the next time you hear an owl calling in the evening, think about primrose flowers bursting open inviting sphinx moths to sip their nectar.

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