Hidden 7th Window Discovered!

Large-flowered Scaevola

Scaevola macrophylla

The Large-flowered Scaevola is another excellent example of how biofluorescence could indicate how pollinating insects like bees and butterflies are attracted to the centre of wildflowers where pollen is created. Seen in a bright glow here, the filaments of this wildflower act as a beacon to flying insects, possibly enticing them to come closer. In addition to the yellow ring around the filaments seen in daylight, this is a system that works across the light spectrum.

This wildflower may depend on insects to pollinate but it has evolved to rely on the heat from naturally-occurring bushfires in order to germinate! The only thing that can crack the tough exterior of the Large-flowered Scaevola is fire. Depending on an unpredictable weather event may not seem very sensible – and frankly it isn’t! This species is Critically Endangered, the wildflower was recorded in the wild in 1990 and wouldn’t be seen again until 30 years later! This could be due to many factors but the combination of being an extremely rare flower in the first place and depending on a bushfire to grow, seems to be unhelpful to its population increase. However, the theory behind why this wildflower waits for a bushfire is fascinating – once a bushfire passes above ground, leaving nothing much alive in its path, this land then becomes a clean slate, free rein. the Large-flowered Scaevola sees this opportunity and rises from the ashes of its fallen competition.

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