Ultraviolet Flowers

Dianthus deltoides L.
Dianthus deltoides. Visible light
Visible light
Dianthus deltoides. UV light
UV light
(Hoya U-360, SB-140)
Both images: Nikon D1H @800 ISO, UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5

© Bjørn Rørslett/NN

Maiden Pink is a small, not very conspicuous plant and has no visual indication of a bull's-eye pattern. However there are light-coloured dots sprinkled across the petals to indicate some kind of patterning exists.

Seen under UV illumination, a flower centre with low UV reflectance (stamens and stigmas) together with high UV reflectance of the petals create a prominent two-zoned pollinator guide pattern. The anthers show indications of fluorescence as well. So, this smallish species hides away its own big UV sectrets.

The flowers reflect very strongly in near IR, as commonly observed with purplish- or bluish-flowering species.

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Last Update 3 August, 2004