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Axel Foster
Axel Foster

Moth By Lily Mayne

Any account, however brief, should not omit mention of the orchids,which in the matter of insect-pollination have reached the highestdegree of organization. So detailed are their adaptations thateach kind of flower is adapted to a particular kind of insect. Theaccounts given of the various ways in which orchids attract insectsand secure pollination really surpass belief, until one has actuallyobserved some of the plants and their insects at work. Any greenhousefurnishes abundant examples of orchids, and our illustration representsone of the most common of our native orchids, the ordinary yellowLady-slipper. In most orchid flowers there is a long tubular spur, atthe bottom of which the nectar is found, which is to be reached bylong probosces, such as can be found only in moths and butterflies. InLady-slippers, however, there is a different arrangement. The flowershave a conspicuous pouch in which the nectar is secreted, and a flapoverhangs the opening of the pouch. Behind the flap are the two pollenmasses, between which is the stigmatic surface. A bee crowds itselfaway into the pouch and becomes imprisoned, and may frequently be foundbuzzing about uneasily. The nectar is in the bottom of the pouch, andafter feeding the bee moves toward the opening overhung by the flap,and rubs itself against the stigma and then against the anthers,receiving the pollen on its back. A visit to another flower will resultin rubbing some of the pollen upon the stigma, and in receiving morepollen for another flower.

Moth by Lily Mayne

One of the most remarkable cases of insect-pollination is that shownby the ordinary Yucca, which is pollinated by a small moth, the plantand the moth being very dependent upon one another. The flowers ofYucca occur in very large prominent clusters, and hang like bells. Ineach bell-shaped flower there are six hanging stamens, and a centralovary ribbed lengthwise like a melon. At the tip of the ovary is afunnel-shaped opening, which is the stigma. During the day the mothhides quietly in the recesses of the flower, but at dusk she becomesvery active. She travels down the stamens, and, resting on the openanthers, scrapes out the somewhat sticky pollen with her front legs.Holding the little mass of pollen she runs up on the ovary, standsastride of one of the furrows, pierces through the wall with herovipositor, and deposits an egg in an ovule. After depositing severaleggs, she runs to the apex of the ovary and begins to crowd the massof pollen she has collected into the funnel-like stigma. These actionsare repeated several times, until many eggs are deposited and repeatedpollination has been effected. As a result of all this, the flower ispollinated and seeds are formed, which develop abundant nourishment forthe moth larvae, whose eggs had been laid in the ovule. Just how theinsect learned that this behavior on her part would secure food for heryoung is hard to imagine.

No plants are more frequently mentioned in Ancient Myths and by theclassical poets. Though the white lily (Lilium candidum) was, evenbefore the time of Homer, known as a garden flower, yet the earliestdescriptions of the lilies found in cultivation were written by Gerardin the year 1597.

It is thought by some that the "lilies of the field," spoken of in theseventh chapter of Matthew, are the red lily described by Pliny. Thewhite lilies have long been considered the symbol of purity and wereoften used by the great masters in the pictures of the Annunciation,in which they were represented as held by the Angel Gabriel. Howappropriate is the white lily, with its glossy and pure white petalsfor the decoration of Easter time! 041b061a72


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