Pharyngula

Botanical Wednesday: Yes, mistress

I don’t know whether to be intimidated or aroused by the description that goes with this image. Or both.

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The dominatrices of the orchid world are the Bucket Orchids. They are pollinated by orchid bees that want the plant’s aromatic oils to use them in their courtship dance with females. But what the poor bees go through to get them!

The orchids secrete the aromatic fluid into the bucket-shaped lip, and
the bee will often fall into the fluid at the bottom of the bucket. There are knobs inside that go one way but the rest of the bucket is lined with smooth hairs pointing downwards and so that they can’t climb back up.

Finally following the knobs, the bees come to what looks like freedom, a spout exiting. The orchid, however, has no intention of letting the bee go yet. Instead, it constricts the spout and presses pollen packets against its thorax, keeping it there until the “glue” has set. Finally, it is set free to go and find another orchid and this time displace the pollen packets to pollinate it. It can take up to 45 minutes for the bee to escape the orchid as it is kept trapped for the orchids sexual needs and bent to her will.

Wait, this sounds like my home life!

(Also on FtB)