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Valentine.gr  

July 2009

Did you know that plants from the genus Trochetia belong to the few plants worldwide that can produce coloured nectar in order to atract geckos as pollinators?

 Trochetia boutoniana flower and pollinator Blue-tailed Day Gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) 

Trochetia - Trochetia spp.

Trochetia is a genus of flowering plants from the family Malvaceae (formerly in the Sterculiaceae, but this family is now usually subsumed in the Malvaceae). They are endemic to the Mascarene Islands.

The genus was first described by A.P. de Candolle in 1823, who named it in honour of French botanist Henri Dutrochet.

The genus Trochetia consists of scrubs or small trees, which can reach a height from two to eight metres. The hermaphroditic flowers are either white (T. triflora), pink (T. parviflora), or reddish orange (T. boutoniana). They are either single-standing, or grow in a cluster of three flowers. Some species have bell-shaped petals. All plants of this genus are imperiled due to the competition of invasive species, like the guavas from China but also by the destruction of introduced monkeys and rats. Five species occur on Mauritius and one on La Reunion. The habitat consists of humid forests with a high annual rainfall or mountainous slopes which are directed windwards.

Trochetia boutoniana also known by its native Mauritian name Boucle d'Oreille (in English: Earring tree, because of its bell-shaped look) is a shrub from the Trochetia genus endemic to Mauritius. Traditionally included in the family Sterculiaceae, it is included in the expanded Malvaceae in the APG and most subsequent systematics. It can reach a height up to 3 m. The leaves are oval shaped and due to its xerophyte adaptions it is leathery on the underparts. Also stipules are present. The petals are between 5 and 6 cm and they are growing asymmetric. They are bell-shaped and the coloring is dark red with a white background. The capsule is globular shaped and containts up to 10 black seeds. The flowering time is from June to October.

This plant is relatively rare because of its weak regeneration and due to introduced monkeys which feed from the blossom buds. The only occurrence are the slopes of Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius. Thanks to the efforts of botanist Joseph Gueho it was successfully germinate and grown in cultivation for the first time in 1973.

Trochetia boutoniana is the national flower of Mauritius since 1992 and it is often illustrated on stamps of Mauritius. It was named after French botanist Louis Bouton.

Plants from the genus Trochetia belong to the few plants worldwide that can produce coloured nectar. Some scientists, like the Danish ecologist Jens Olesen assume that this could be linked to bird species which have pollinated this plants in the past and are extinct today[1]. However, recent research has demonstrated that not only do endemic Phelsuma geckos pollinate some of the species, but that they actually prefer coloured over clear nectar. Hence, the 'mystery of the Mauritian coloured nectar can be considered at least partly solved now. Whether the nectar-feeding birds in Mauritius also react to the coloured nectar as a signal for floral reward remains to be seen.

The main pollinators of today are the Mauritius Olive White-eye (Zosterops chloronothos) and the Mauritius Grey White-eye (Zosterops borbonicus mauritianus), introduced honey bees, or geckos from the genus Phelsuma.

Recent research has shown that in the absence of the locally extinct Mauritius Olive White-eye, Trochetia blackburniana's main pollinator in the area of Le Petrin is the Blue-tailed Day Gecko (Phelsuma cepediana). Interestingly, the pollination efficiency of these geckos depend on the proximity to dense patches of Pandanus, which are a favourite microhabitat for the geckos - possibly because the spiky leaves of Pandanus protect them from their main predator, the Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus).


Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trochetia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trochetia_boutoniana
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070423-gecko.html

 

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Madagascar ocotillo - Alluaudia procera
Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
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Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
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Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
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Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
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Dead Manís Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
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Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
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Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
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African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
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Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
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Aquilegia - Columbine
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Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
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Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
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Calendula - Marigold
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Canna - Indian Shot
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Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
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Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
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Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
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Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
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