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Orange Inkflower

Orange Inkflower
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-10-13
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/4, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-06-02 7:10
Viewed: 3789
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Orange Inkflower / Harveya squamosa

During both our vacations to the Cape Province we saw and photographed many different types of beautiful flowers in all shapes, sizes and most of all magnificent colours. It is still difficult to decide which is my favourite amongst the ones we saw, and I would love to go back and find some more which we weren't privileged to find on the previous occasions. I remember so well how excited I was when I saw this lovely Orange Inkflower for the 1st time and I stood amazed about its delicate details and the rich orange colour. If my facts are correct this is a 1st for Trek Nature.

Harveya squamosa is a strange root parasite, commonly seen with the whole plant coloured a glorious red to orange or, rarely, all sulphur yellow, with no trace of green.

This plant is a perennial, parasitic herb ranging between 200 and 400mm high. It is a total or holoparasite, lacking all chlorophyll. Hence it cannot photosynthesize and is fully dependent on its host for all its nutrients. It attaches itself to the roots of the host by means of a prominent, tuberous, vascular organ called a haustorium. Through this, it absorbs all it needs from the host. The stems are fleshy and usually simple but, rarely, there can be up to eight branches. This plant does not bear normal-looking leaves but the stems are covered in small, appressed, scale leaves. The whole plant, including the inflorescence, is usually one colour, deep carmine red to orange or rarely yellow. However, one illustration (Phillips 1922) shows the calyx and corolla tubes as yellow while the rest of the inflorescence is red. Several herbarium specimens also have notes mentioning yellow on the corolla tube.

The only portions of the plant that appear above ground are the top of the stem and the terminal inflorescence. This is a dense spike of 8-25 bisexual flowers. The corolla tube is narrow-cylindrical to conical above the base, and a little curved. The 5 corolla lobes are short, entire and overlapping. The style bends downwards at the tip when the flower is ready for pollination. Then the club-shaped stigma is clearly visible as it emerges from the corolla. The flowering time ranges from August to December but is at its peak between September and November.

Conservation status
The species is not at risk of extinction or under threat.

Distribution and habitat
This parasite grows mainly in sandy soils along the west coast of South Africa, from a little north of Hondeklip Bay, in the Namaqua National Park, Namaqualand, south to the Cape Peninsula. It can also be found as far east as Worcester. Recorded habitats include coastal sand dunes, low-lying sandy hillocks and coastal fynbos. Once it was found on a steep slope in heavy clay, derived from Malmesbury shale. Altitudes range from 15-650m.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
The name Harveya was given to this genus in 1837 by Sir William J. Hooker in honour of his long-time friend, William Henry Harvey (1811-1866), an Irish botanist who pioneered South African systematic botany. Harvey visited the Cape several times between 1835 and 1842 and was Treasurer-General at the Cape from 1836 to 1838. He seems to have done more botany than administrative work, arising early many mornings and going plant hunting. Later he became a professor of Botany at the University of Dublin and we are indebted to him for several botanical works. He was very pleased with the naming of this parasitic genus after himself and he saw it as appropriate since "I am one of those weak characters that draw their pleasures from others, and their support and sustenance too" (quoted by Duncan 2010).

The genus Harveya occurs in Africa (mainly in southern Africa with isolated pockets elsewhere), Madagascar, the Comores and Yemen. It has 40 species of which 13 occur in the flora of the southern African region. Plants in this genus can be either holoparasites, having no chlorophyll, or hemiparasites, with chlorophyll. All the southern African ones are of the former type. This genus was first placed in the Scrophulariaceae family but now, after molecular systematic studies, it is regarded as part of the Orobanchaceae.

Squamosa in Latin means covered in coarse scales, referring to the much reduced scale leaves. This species was originally named Orobanche squamosa by Thunberg in 1800, as it seemed to be related to that European parasitic genus.

The haustorium of Harveya causes the inner tissues of the host root to grow larger, and thus the two plants become closely connected. These parasites have large, sunken stomata that help set up fast transpiration. This aids the suction of nutrients from the host root. Many specimens have an extensive underground rhizome. This may give it an advantage for living in loose and shifting, sandy soil. One herbarium specimen records that some flowers had been eaten by caterpillars.

A common feature of the genus Harveya was noted by Visser (1981). "One anther cell of each stamen is sterile and transformed into a spur to aid the shedding of pollen before the stigma blocks the way". Presumably the pollinator, by touching the spur, will help shake pollen out of the anther cell. The downward curve of the style leads to the stigma blocking the entrance to the corolla tube. This aids transfer of pollen from the pollinator to the stigma, as the pollinator pushes past.

Visser suggested pollination of this Harveya is by birds because of the narrowly tubular, orange or red flowers, copious nectar and lack of scent. Further to this, the flowers are usually clearly visible, out in the open, not being hidden by other plants. However, there are no definite records of pollinators for this species. Perhaps ants, mice or elephant-shrews are involved. The last two may not be very likely as the flowers do not seem to get damaged. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

Alex99, iti, Cobo, Hotelcalifornia, Pitoncle, tuslaw, marius-secan, ramthakur, cobra112, CeltickRanger, KOMSIS, Hormon_Manyer, Adanac, anel, peter_stoeckl has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-06-02 7:31]

Hello Anna,
Fascinating plant in splendid bright orange colours. Excellent sharply detailed and a very good DOF. What a beauty!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2013-06-02 9:10]

Hi Anna.
Your shots open the unknown for me and wonderful world. Both scenery at whole and flower are simply fine. Combination of dry leaves and twigs and full of fresh life plants is very impressive as well as numerous attractive details of the scene. Thanks a lot and best wishes.

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-06-02 9:52]

Hi Anna,
Beautiful and interesting orange flower.
Gorgeous colours and sharpness details.
Very good work.
Regards Jiri.

Hello Anna
Brilliant photo, wonderful light, excellent detail and an extraordinary plant!
regards yiannis

haalo Anna
Great picture of this beautiful coloured flower
good details and super sharpness
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-06-02 13:08]

Hi Anna,a magnificent new specie from your country of rare beauties,we are lucky to have you on TE,fantastic capture,very interesting and made in the best way to show us the best of this strange specie,top details,colors and pov as usual.Have a nice week and thanks,Luciano

Hello Anna,
Nice to see this specie.Well managed POV with eye catching colour combination.Details on ground are splendid.
Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards,

fantastic inkflower, great contrast to the background, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • hsn6a Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 0 N: 435] (8652)
  • [2013-06-03 1:12]

Thank you for introducing us to this beautiful plant that noise Anna.. I think that the family Orobanchaceae, Greetings ..

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-06-03 3:52]

this is really wonderful flowers, so colorful great to watch them...your capture is as beautiful as the flowers it self. tfs.

Bonjour Anna,
Trčs belle valorisation du sujet par son opposition ŕ l'environnement mais aussi par l'appréciation de la finesse des détails.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • john1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 122 W: 0 N: 439] (3410)
  • [2013-06-04 8:43]

Hi Anna,

Wonderful plant and splendid color, the light and the sharpness are perfect for the composition.
the note is really explicit, a plant which would even here absolutely.
My best regards.

Amazing plant Anna! Great photo! The lighting and the colours are fantastic. Impressive sharpness too.
Beautiful composition with the plant and its habitat.

Hello Anna
well composed picture.
nice flower study with perfect colour and sharpness.
best wishes,

Very Beautiful colors and good exposure! I like it!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-06-09 20:32]

Hello Anna,
It's hard to believe this gorgeous plant is a parasitic plant. I suppose just by that discription we congure up an image in our minds of something not very beautiful, but just look at this gorgeous image.
Love the bright orange colors and unique shape. You have done a fine job of photographing this particular specimen for us. I,m curious as to why it is called an Ink Flower, do you know?

Hello Anna,
Thanks for visiting my gallery. Once again a wonderful photo taken from a very good angle and POV. Exceptional quality....Excellent details. Outstanding colors and perfect focus. Lovely red-orange colors.....
Thanks for sharing!

Anna, this is an amazing specimen of flora from your country.
You have captured it thoughtfully from a perspective that shows its form and shape very effectively. I love its very unique colour.
Warm regards.

Hi Anna,
Amazing parasitic species, excellent capture, best regards and have a nice WE

Ciao ana. Great POV to exalt the perspective. Exciting colours very good details for the interesting strange plant.


Hello Anna

Beautiful composition of these flowers,
you did fine to choose an higher POV
to show the petals and the great contrast
between the color tones, TFS


Todo bien Anna ? Espero que si ...
Impresionante esta flor que nos presentas... la naturaleza nos sorprende cada dia.
Un abrazo,
J. Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • Tina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 0 N: 132] (1427)
  • [2013-06-18 1:45]

Hello Anna,
So beautiful and unexpected bright orange flower in a see of green/brown nuances ! Beautiful composition and excellent DOF ! TFS Tina

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2013-06-19 9:44]

Hallo Anna,
Fine work and presentation ..
Excellent composition, fantastic lighting and very good sharpness.
Best wishes,

Hallo Anna,
Truly spectacular plant and image, never ever saw something like this! Great PoV, sensational color contrast and in spite of the little busy background, an excellent composition. All these crowned with your always informative notes - a remarkable post to say the least. Tfs and congrats.
Best regards, László

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2013-06-21 17:49]

Hello Anna,
What a dazzling blossom you show us here, the colour would attract almost any pollinator.
Excellent notes as always, and congratulation on a TrekNature first.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-06-26 5:14]

Hello Anna,
Missed this striking colored flower, a species I never had seen before. Amazed to read that this lovely apparition is a root-parasite! With great beauty you never know...
Well taken natural and pleasing shot.

Wow,very nice shot.Perfect light and sharpness.I like this orange colours.
Thanks for sharing,

Dear Anna,
fascinating plant, very clearly presented to demonstrate its strikingly strong colours and its velvet surface. Well composed setting allowing to see into the distance. Thank you!
With all my best wishes to you from hot Vienna to probably recently much cooler Western Cape of South Africa,

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