Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mad about Madias

Madia elegans, Front yard,
from seed from Berkeley Botanic Garden
What can I say about this perfect little flower with the wonderful smell? This tarweed is out there when all the wimpy spring wildflowers have given up the ghost and is still pushing out flowers until the first fall rains. It's one of my favorites.

It's interesting for so many reasons:

  • The pineapply smell that sticks to your legs when you walk through fields of tarweed.
  • The resins trap insects and attract other insects who eat insects. 
  • The great color and petal variations in my area: white/yellow, white/red, yellow, white.
  • How did a seed or seeds of a plant of the subtribe Madiinae from the West Coast of the Americas (California?) make it to Hawaii and evolve into so many other plants.

Grace Hudson's Tarweed Gatherer
from here

Interesting places to read about the tarweeds:

  • Billy Krimmel "Divergent antiherbivore syndromes in the tarweeds" really intereseting talk from 2015 about these "sticky plants". Glandular (fall) and eglandular (spring) forms! 
From Dr. Krimmel's lecture showing who eats what and whom!

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