Friday, July 1, 2011

Eriogonum inflatum

Desert Trumpet

One of many Eriogonum species found in the Mojave, E. inflatum has a most unusual flower stalk, inflating to form a large, hollow bulb at the apex of the main stalks. These bulbs were originally thought to originate from parasitoid wasps inhabiting the stalks as a nest, but recent work has disproven this, instead showing that the inflation is due to the build up of CO2 gasses in the chamber. What is of note, however, is that these bulbs do indeed act as either nesting chambers or larders for different species of insect.

Though technically an annual plant, E. inflatum can survive for multiple seasons if conditions at the site are good.

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