Amazingly Strange Flowers | Brian Boom – Curator Emeritus at the New York Botanical Garden

🌺 Amazingly Strange Flowers | Brian Boom – Curator Emeritus at the New York Botanical Garden 🌼 STRANGE FLOWERS from around the WORLD


LINKS mentioned on the INTERVIEW
📍The Lecythidaceae of a Lowland Neotropical Forest: La Fumee Mountain. Mem (44)
📍Tropical Plant Collecting: From the Field to the Internet
📍That Glorious Forest: Exploring the Plants & Their Indigenous Uses. Mem (113) Links to books mentioned in the interview:
📍Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life
📍The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology
Links to videos mentioned in the interview:
📍Bats, Bees, and Brazil Nut Trees

Flowers are amazing for so many reasons, and Strange Flowers – A Coloring Book features some of the truly most amazingly strange flowers from around the world.   Humans value flowers for a multitude of reasons – they provide us foods and medicines, serve as symbols in our religions and rituals, and beautify natural and designed landscapes.  But for plant species, flowers have a single but absolutely essential value – they facilitate pollination, leading to the production of fruits and seeds, and thus future generations of the species.   Diversity of flowers’ complexity relates to the mechanisms of how particular plant species get pollinated.

For example, flowers such as in the grasses, which get pollinated by the wind, typically have very simple flowers with no colorful parts or nectar or aromas. On the other hand, plants that are pollinated by animals have evolved floral structures, colors, and chemical substances that attract the creatures that can affect pollination in those plant species. This book focuses on some very strange-looking flowers that are pollinated by animals. Birds pollinate the large Hanging Lobster Claw herb in tropical America, the King Protea shrub in southern Africa, and the tiny Happy Alien herb in the Tierra del Fuego region of South America.

Bees pollinate the Maypop passion flower in the south-central and southeastern United States, the Laughing Bumblebee orchid in the Mediterranean region, the Swaddled Baby orchid in the Peruvian Andes, the Parrot Flower balsam in Thailand, Burma, and India, and the Flying Duck orchid in Australia. Flies pollinate the Monkey Face orchid in cloud forests of Central and South America, the Corpse Flower aroid in Sumatra, the Darth Vader pipevine in Central and South America, the Keith’s Rafflesia, a parasitic plant in Borneo, and the Black Bat yam plant in Southeast Asia. Relationships between plants and their pollinators are fascinating. For example, flies that pollinate the Black Bat plant are called biting midges, which feed on the blood of mammals, such as bats. Flowers of the Black Bat plant actually look something like a bat in color and with “whiskers” that move in the wind. Biting midges are drawn to the plant looking for a blood meal. They have been fooled, but by the time they realize it, they have picked up pollen on their bodies. The flies then unknowingly transport the pollen to the next Black Bat flower, and their pollination mission is accomplished! Another example are the birds that pollinate the Happy Alien, called seedsnipes. These birds are attracted to the sugar-rich white-colored flower structure that looks like a tray. As the seedsnipes snip off the sweet treat, they incidentally pick up the flower’s pollen on their heads. When the birds visit the next flower, they deposit the pollen from the first flower, thus affecting pollination. So, the Happy Alien is not holding a tray out asking for food, it is actually offering food for its bird pollinators! Plants and their pollinators need something else in addition to each other. Namely, they need protection, as they are increasingly both threatened by environmental degradation, such as habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, and by climate change.

Strange Flowers – A Coloring Book introduces some of these magnificent plants to the generation of humans that must help save these plants, their pollinators, and the web of life itself. Brian Boom, Ph.D., Curator Emeritus, The New York Botanical Garden