Carnivorous Plants Website
Carnivorous Plants in the Wilderness
by Makoto Honda
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Darlingtonia californica                                                                                                                                 © 2009 Makoto Honda. All Rights Reserved

In spite of the past 150 years of study since the discovery of Darlingtonia california in northern California, the pollination biologist is yet to identify who is responsible for the fertilization of the cobra plant flowers. The unique flower morphology appears to suggest a highly evolved floral adaptation in relation to its pollinators in favor of cross pollination.  There is no firm field observations to date, however, that point to the existence of major pollinators of the flower. Are the ubiquitous spiders then the pollinators for which the flower has so meticulously evolved? Or, have unknown insect pollinators been replaced by spiders in the course of evolution? The search for the elusive agent of pollination continues....

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