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The Rat's tail (Babiana ringens) is a flowering plant native to South Africa. The foliage is long and erect with a sterile main stalk. The plant bears bright red, tubular flowers on side branches close to the ground. It grows in sandy soil.
Additional recommended knowledge
The main stalk acts as a perch for birds, enabling birds to land within reach of the plant's flowers. The bird that seems to be a pollinator of the plant is the malachite sunbird (Nectarina famosa). The male sunbird is twice as likely to perch on the stalk as the female and, on average, spends four times longer on a perch. The stalk does seem to play a role in pollination as plants without a stalk produced only half as many seeds as plants with a stalk intact (Anderson, Cole, and Barrett, 2005).
Anderson, B., W.W. Cole, and S.C.H. Barrett (2005). "Botany: Specialized bird perch aids cross-pollination". Nature 435 (May 5): 41-42 Abstract.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rat's_Tail". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|