Honeyflower (Herminium)

By | October 26, 2017

Spherical tubers. A few leaves, clustered at the base of the shoot or distributed throughout the entire shoot. Multiflorous inflorescence. Small flowers, turned by 180 °, yellowish or greenish. 3-tooth or 3-5-tooth lip, with a spur of different length at the base. The remaining perianth petals more or less tucked into a helmet. Stamen straight, ovoid, relatively narrow connector. Rostellum półkowate, simple, slightly folded on the top surface. Hooks 2, naked. Birthmark below the rostellum, narrow, in the shape of a flattened V letter.

The column of the genus honeydew (Herminium) seen from the front (a) and to the side (b).

This genus has approx 40 species growing mainly in Asia. Nearly half of them are found in China. Only one species is known in Europe – cruciferous honeycomb (Herminium monorchis).

Flowers of our kind representative, cruciferous honeyflower (Herminium monorchis), they produce and store in a shallow one, baggy spur nectar. They emit strong too, nice smell, reminiscent of the aroma of some umbellate plants (Apiaceae / Umbelliferae), e.g.. anxious. This smell triggers the reaction of insects to search for food. Various species of Hymenoptera make pollination (Hymenoptera) and two-winged (Diptera), most often Tetrastichus sp. (Hymenoptera) i Trachysiplwnella sp. (Diptera). Because the flowers of the honeycomb are small, only small insects can pollinate. Pollinia usually attach individually to the thighs of the first pair of legs. Because they are relatively heavy in relation to the weight of the insect, only animals in good condition are able to carry them with them. Sometimes insects stuck to the pollinia caps are observed, still stuck in the stamen bags. Such a situation always ends tragically for the insect.

Occasionally, even mosquitoes fly to the flowers of honeycombs – e.g.. species of the genus Anopheles sp. with pollinia on the mouth apparatus.

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