Bobartia macrospatha subsp. macrospatha

January 4, 2019

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Bobartia macrospatha subsp. macrospatha, also known as Blombiesie the narrow cylindrical leaves are almost 1m tall and almost identical to the flowering stems which carry clusters of yellow flowers. This species is endemic to South Africa. It flowers from spring to summer and occurs in Moist Protea Fynbos along coastal mountains. You will hardly find the petals of Bobartia species intact as all sorts of beetles are often found eating the petals.

There are researchers that have revealed that there is a symbiotic relationship between the common borra beetle and Bobartia species. The Bora beetle lays one single egg in one of the 3 seed capsules produced by the Bobartia flowers. The opening at the top of the woody capsules is just big enough for the beetle to lay that single egg. In the seed the capsules are divided by a woody compartment. The egg matures to larvae state, the larvae eats the seeds in one capsule. It grows to maturity before needing to eat the seeds in the remaining two. The larvae exits the capsule chamber and the other two chambers burst open to release the remining seed. The cycle then again repeats itself.

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