Ultraviolet Flowers

Tussilago farfara L.
Tussilago farfara. Visible light
Visible light
(Nikon D1, UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5, L37C filter)
Tussilago farfara. Ultraviolet light
UV light
(Nikon F5 , UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5, Fuji RTP @64 ISO , SB-140)
Both images © Bjørn Rørslett/NN
This species, one of the earliest spring flowers, has virtually no visual indication of a bull's-eye pattern. UV reflectance of the outer petals is quite high, but somewhat varying. Thus, the flower heads may record with the outer parts being pinkish instead of white. The central flower disc has no UV reflectance and thus records almost black in b/w UV, and in bright red for UV colour.

Tussilago is eagerly visited by smaller flies and honey bees. Being one of the first flowers to appear in the spring, it evidently can advertise its presence with great success to the few insect pollinators available. Come to think of it, these pollinators have but few food sources this time of the year, so the interest of having the flowers easily located is mutual to pollinator and plant.

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Last Update 1 October, 2002