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Pulvinus and movement in Byblis (time lapse)

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Published on Jun 13, 2010

(This film participates in the ChloroFilms Video Contest. Please find more information at www.ChloroFilms.org)

14 days time lapse of Byblis liniflora show clearly that the carnivorous genus Byblis moves its leaves by pulvinus (thickening at the leaf or flower stalk base, enabling movement). This has first been noticed and published in 2008 by Brian Barnes (USA). Interestingly enough this amazing feature has apparently not been recognized or mentioned by other authors who described the different species of the Rainbow Plant in the past. We could find no text mentioning this fact prior to Brians examinations. So our congratulation for this finding goes to Brian Barnes (USA), ICPS director of conservation and president of the Florida CPS. Our film is a clear evidence for his observations.

But such a movement, what is it good for?

Easy to see now: a new trapping leaf and a flower stalk (wearing one flower bud on the tip) both emerge from the leaf axil and both grow up erect to catch flying prey until the flower bud opens. Now a pulvinus is developed in the common leaf axil and the sticky trapping leaf moves down, not to endanger approaching pollinators. The flower is still hold erect. After pollination took place, the pulvinus shows a new thickening and now the flower stalk with the ripening seed-pod on the tip moves down and soon after that movement is finished, the seed-pot facing down to the soil opens and seeds are released without sticking to to the gluey plant. Due to the fact that the mainly annual plants (except Byblis aff. gigantea) are rapid growers, the time-lapse of some plants looks like a fascinating group of ballet dancers.

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