I decided not to post each step-by-excruciatingly-slow-step of this assignment but today have put a couple of stages together. I only have 2 more days to get this done so, if it all goes wrong I just won't have to worry too much.
I have spent quite some time looking at the flower with a magnifying glass and dissecting bits here and there. I have had two trips to the gardens this week for more specimens and today I watched the insects which delight in hanging out on this curious flower, but could not see any exciting pollen transference going on. These lovely red milkweed bugs are always around and are important pollinators.
and I was rewarded with a nice stripy monarch caterpillar too.
I would really like to add these two insects to the drawing as they are all inter dependent; the monarch butterfly only feeds on milkweeds and the red bugs are expert examples of "co- evolution"
"The relationship of milkweed to all the milkweed insects - a relatively small guild of orange and black insects that advertise the fact by their coloration that they feed on a noxious plant that makes them unpalatable - is known as co-evolution.
Through the pressure of herbivory, plants are selected to become more toxic, by so doing they leave behind some of the herbivores (in evolutionary time) but not others. Those herbivores not left behind are those that are capable of overcoming the plant defenses and in some cases, such as the milkweed feeders, are able to incorporate the plant defenses as part of their own defense against predators."
There were ladybirds as well...I am not quite sure how they fit into milkweed world.
And I did some painting too, Stage one and Stage two. It's all very slow! Magnifying glass in one hand, paintbrush in the other... Hmmm not really me.
It's quite a big painting, 16 x 11 inches.
Crown Flower: Stages One and Two