Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wild Petunia

Wild petunia (Ruellia humilis)

Ruellia humilis is a native plant that grows well in several different habitats.  It is blooming all over Habitat Home now and will continue to bloom for most of the summer.  I will trim it in the fall and scatter the seeds about. From the book Nature's Garden(published 1915) I found and quote this interesting information about the use of the flower.
One frequently finds holes bitten in these flowers, as in so many others long of tube or spur. Bumblebees, among the most intelligent and mischievous of insects, are apt to be the chief offenders; but wasps are guilty too, and the female carpenter bee, which ordinarily slits holes to extract nectar, has been detected in the act of removing circular pieces of the corolla from this ruellia with which to plug up a thimble-shaped tube in some decayed tree. Here she deposits an egg on top of a layer of baby food, consisting of a paste of pollen and nectar, and seals up the nursery with another bit of leaf or flower, repeating the process until the long tunnel is filled with eggs and food for larvae. Then she dies, leaving her entire race apparently extinct, and living only in embryo for months. This is the bee which commonly cuts her round plugs from rose leaves.

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