The OpenScience Laboratory The Open University

iSpot Forum

Fire lily - Cyrtanthus ventricosus

Following up on JoC’s comment here: (Sorry I don’t know how to link directly to the comment - there must be a way)

about the BBC programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/the-green-planet-seasonal-worlds
their comment
“To capture the fire lily pollination the camera operator spent over 50 hours in a hide waiting for birds to visit the flower, often in mid 30s heat.”
Should have done their homework

  • see PZA

Blockquote

Aeropetes tulbaghia, the Table Mountain Pride butterfly, frequently visits the flower heads of C. ventricosus.

The butterfly alights on top of the flower and extends its long proboscis between the upper tepals to reach the nectar at the base of the tube. While doing so the proboscis occasionally brushes against the anthers and style, which arch against the upper tepals, thereby transferring pollen from one plant to another.

Blockquote

SEE IMAGE “Mountain Pride butterfly on flower. Photo Colin Paterson Jones”

Blockquote

Sunbirds are also frequent visitors and are known to pierce holes at the base of the flower for nectar. In this way they `rob’ the reward offered by the flower without contributing to its pollination.

Blockquote

http://pza.sanbi.org/cyrtanthus-ventricosus
@JoC I’ve added some links and tags to our original observation -

I took so many pics that day - shall check to see if there are more worth posting.
For the BBC - they may also like to look at this

1 Like

emphasized text**emphasized textI knew you had a fire lily in your collection, but I didn’t know how to locate it.
.
I liked this from the link you shared « The plant’s total dependence on fire, however, makes it unrewarding for cultivation. «
.
And this « Pollen is deposited on the ventral surface of the wings of butterflies as they flutter over the strongly exserted stamens.« I had no idea that butterfly wings were effective pollination mechanisms.
.
Strelitzia key followed: Flowers bright red, flowers tubular, Perianth segments +/- equally spreading.
That gives 5 species options; I can’t see enough details to decide which this is. What tipped your id to C. ventricosus?

1 Like

It’s the name listed in the Cape Peninsula guide (Mary Maytham Kidd). Then we also worked from a checklist by Deon Kesting who researched the species found on the Cape Peninsula.
Remember I was very seldom alone on the mountain - and would have compared notes - mostly with the Shoosmiths who still work with a Flora Documentation programme (just a phone call away!!)

1 Like