Passiflora colinvauxii, butterflies, and evolution
A few months ago I posted the remarkable (19 day growth) of P. colinvauxii from cuttings:
The plant has grown quite a bit since that time. It was outside at first, now inside for the winter.
In person it's clear that the positioning and the shape of the leaves resembles a cloud of butterflies in flight; I'm not sure if this comes through in a photo (click on it for a more manageable size). Presumably when the plant blooms, it resembles butterflies surrounding some flowers. The idea would then be to attract the pollinator (a bee?, Myles Irvine's site suggests and shows a photo) to the plant.
Here's a link to Myles' pages on this plant:
If you look at the photo on that first page you'll see a flower with nearby leaves displaying egg mimicry. The pattern of spots tells butterflies not to lay eggs on those leaves. I really need to see photos of the whole plant in bloom, but another page on Myles' site says there can be 4 different types of leaves on a given plant. I'm looking forward to seeing which leaves the plant is directing butterflies not to lay eggs on relative to the flower position, as well as decipher what the other patterns on the leaves might mean. Presumably some leaves are OK for the butterflies to eat. Hopefully it will bloom soon.
My biggest question is why is the plant attracting butterflies if it is indeed pollinated by bees?
What I find very cool is that this plant, which is likely a beautiful example of coevolution involving butterflies and a Passiflora (and also perhaps bees if they are the pollinator), is in fact from the Galapagos, where Darwin got much of his inspiration.
Here is a link that might be useful: Myles Irvine's pages on P. colinvauxii