Faintly sweet flowers
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Put my proboscis where?

The slender tubular sucking organ of butterflies and moths is called a proboscis. It not too well known, but each species of nectar feeding insect visits only flowers with the right combination of landing zone and nectary depth. Small butterflies feed on aster-like plants that have their nectary just below the surface of the stamens. Larger butterflies feed on flowers with a bit more depth -- sometimes the proboscis can reach a depth of two centimeters.

And is it a coincidence that humans have a proboscis too? Our nose isn't suited to feeding, but it certainly can distinguish an array of different smells. So next time you're in the garden, stick your nose right up to the flower and get ready to enjoy.

Here's a list of plants with flowers and leaves that have very faint aromas. Remember: many leaves don't reveal their secret until you rub them lightly.

   Index to faintly sweet plants (A to B)

   Index to faintly sweet plants (C to D)

   Index to faintly sweet plants (E to I)

   Index to faintly sweet plants (J to M)

   Index to faintly sweet plants (N to P)

   Index to faintly sweet plants (Q to Z)

 

Aster novi-belgii

Michaelmas daisy

Any given afternoon in early autumn this plant will be aswarm with bees and butterflies. It's as noisy as a children's playground.

Last reviewed November 01, 2004   

 

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