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Gday from Western Australia

Wildflowers of Western Australia

Welcome to the amazing world of Triggerplants

Slideshow image

More stylidium images

Click on the images for BIG pictures.

Donkey Stylidium diuroides
Click on image

A triggerplant has a spring-loaded touch-sensitive column hidden under the petals which flicks over when an insect lands on the flower for a feed of nectar.

At the end of this column is the male and female parts of the flower. (anther and stigma)

This action either deposits or collects pollen depending on the cycle of the plant.

Stylidium pollination Pollinator
Bee Bop

The pollen filled anthers (male) appears first on the young flower, then as it matures the sticky stigma (female) takes over and is ready to collect pollen. This cycle prevents self pollination.

Most of the bees I have seen visiting these flowers have a worn spot on their back where they have been repeatedly whacked by the column.

More bee pics About to trigger 3a Whacked 3b Good Shooting 3c

Queen Triggerplant Stylidium affine
Queen

The small lobes in the centre of this beautiful Queen Triggerplant prevents access to the nectar unless the insect lands on the lower petals.

The clever design of the flower forces the insect to land on the same position each time.

Circus Triggerplant Stylidium bulbiferum
Circus

These plants are amazingly precise.

To avoid producing hybrids, different species of triggerplants have various shape and lengths of the column, which can strike from under, over or even from the side.

Therefore an insect visiting two species can be struck at different locations on the body.

Book Triggerplant Stylidium calcaratum
Book

These triggerplants strike the insect on the underside of the abdomen like "a punch in the guts". oh!

So named because the flower closes like a book at night or in cold weather.

Two petals
Petals

99% of triggerplants have two pairs of petals. smile

Here you can see 2, 3, 5 and 6 petalled varieties but they are very rare.

3 Three petals 3d 5 Five petals 5d 5 Five petals 5ad 6 Six petals 6d

Pins-and-needles Stylidium dichotomum
Pins and Needles

After the column has been triggered it gradually resets, usually within an hour, ready to assault another innocent insect looking for nectar or pollen.

White Butterfly Stylidium hispidum
White Butterfly

About 70% of the world's 250+ known species of stylidium occur only in the South-West of Western Australia, highlighting this area as the major center of triggerplant evolution.

Stylidium is the fifth largest genus in Australia.

Click on this image to see the trigger action in more detail.

Carnivorous enzymes Stylidium hispidum
Meat Eater

Stylidium are believed to be carnivorous (or protocarnivorous).

It has been reported that the numerous sticky glands on the flowering parts of triggerplants secrete enzymes to trap and digest tiny insects.

If this proves to be true, the addition of this genus would almost double the number of known carnivorous plants.

Cow Kick Stylidium schoenoides
Cow Kicks

The largest of all triggerplants and named for the powerful 'kick' when triggered.

These are only 5cm (2in) tip to tip, so most stylidium flowers are very small.

Small children are advised not to touch these flowers. wink

Pink Fountain Stylidium brunonianum
Pink Fountain

Class: Gymnospermae

Subclass: Dicotyledonae

Superorder: Asteridae

Order: Campanulales

Family: Stylidiaceae

Poised to strike Stylidium brunonianum
Mamba

The innocence of the flower belies the mamba-shaped head of the column, ready to strike and just as fast.

 

Click on the image to see this in detail.

Boomerang Stylidium breviscapum
Boomerang

Boomerang Triggerplant - Stylidium breviscapum

A Sprinkling of Triggerplants of Triggerplants
A Sprinkle

For more detailed information check out the Wikipedia Triggerplant page.

Reed Triggerplant Stylidium junceum
Reed
Triggerplant
Stylidium
Triggered Check out the opening bud. Lovely Triggerplant Stylidium udusicola Book Triggerplants

Comments - newest first

  1. Rosi

    Reply

    Having just returned from WA with a zillion flower pics I have to say your page is just a treasure trove!! Thanks, Rosi


  2. J.

    Reply

    Thanks for sharing, very informative...


  3. Maiden

    Reply

    Very nice website. I grow stylidium petiolare at home, and they are amazing plants !
    About carnivority, the plant develop dew, insects stay stucked on the dew, a visible digestive enzyme pool(protease) apear like pinguicula, and 4-5 days after, you can see a little exo-skeletton remain on the plant. The flowers stalks are also very tall, like most all others carnivorous plants.

    My stylidium grow faster when the flowers are open, because the plant have some nutrients boost.

    So, its clearly carnivore.




  4. Amber

    Reply

    Thank you so much for this info, really amazing what plants can do :) amazing photos too.


  5. Mansi (India)

    Reply

    This is a great site to learn and explore... Great job!!!
    bahut accha kaam kiya meri bahut madad ho gayi shukriya


  6. Ahana

    Reply

    I had to make a project on insectivorous plants with some good pics...this page helped me a lot!! Not only did i got good pics and info. but also understood how the plant works through animation...Thank u!!


  7. Divya

    Reply

    Great job by the one who made this page...The innocent plant is more than just innocent, though beautiful, it has a clever way of capturing insects... The content, pictures, everything is just awesome


  8. Dave Smith

    Reply

    Cool Site


  9. Roberto Espen (Italy)

    Reply

    Piante fantastiche: la Natura ci stupisce sempre con forme particolarmente affascinanti e meravigliose. Quando poi le piante si "muovono" รจ strabiliante. Complimenti per le foto.


  10. Keith

    Reply

    Nice work mate!


  11. patrick

    Reply

    how would i maintain these in a small home garden?


  12. badgirl

    Reply

    Great site! I love the layout and the pictures as well as the content.


  13. Richard

    Reply

    I suggest you check the actual stickiness of the glandular hairs in the stems and leaves of Stylidium before assigning carnivorous properties to them. I have yet to find any in the southern half of the continent though it is possible that those in the north have sticky hairs. And if you find any, how will you prove that the plant is digesting the insects rather than that the insects are being decomposed by bacteria?


    1. Dicko

      Reply

      Doug Darnowski has proved -
      1) prey are trapped in the wild in numbers comparable to those found for accepted carnivorous plants such as Drosera (on a per unit surface area basis)
      2) prey are digested by proteases secreted by the plants and not by surface microorganisms
      3) material is absorbed by the surface of triggerplants.


  14. Jean

    Reply

    I love this page and often send others here to see how trigger plants work. You have created a great series here.


  15. Harry

    Reply

    I had no idea that these even existed and I love the weird and unusual. Thanks for a great site!


  16. sam

    Reply

    Hi there..nice website :)


  17. Cristiano Marques

    Reply

    Wonderful plants, I have a S. graminifolium and S. amoenum, now I'm waiting for flowers.


  18. sarah

    Reply

    A very good site. I am having to study some of the reproduction strategies of WA flora and your pictures provided me with a good close up look at the flowers of these amazing species! Thanks... and awesome photography!


  19. Maggie

    Reply

    These are amazing! You have such wonderful pictures of these remarkable plants. I hope one day to travel to Australia to see these - moving flowers.


  20. Greg Bourke

    Reply

    Hi Ray, I assume it's Ray. Mate I just wanted to say the pics are fantastic. The website layout is awesome and the Stylidium shots are perfect!

    I am collector of Carnivorous plants and Stylidiums and make the journey to WA as often as I can. I photograph everything I see especially the very small! I edit for a journal (Carniflora Australis) on Carnivorous plants and also for the International Triggerplant Society. I am also attempting to write books on WA's weird and wonderful plants although I'll probably die before I complete them.

    Anyway, I wish I lived in WA

    Regards
    Greg


  21. orca-wild

    Reply

    The natural world still beats human achievement in my books.


  22. apodda

    Reply

    Fascinating plants!


  23. RobDawson

    Reply

    Every time I see something amazing like this for the first time, I'm reminded that however much you know there is always something new and exciting just around the corner.


  24. Caerdrioia

    Reply

    I had never seen these beautiful plants before. Nature is endlessly amazing!


  25. Jarve

    Reply

    It boggles the mind to think how these plants evolved. Excellent presentation.


  26. Muggins

    Reply

    It is incredible that a plant can do this. I especially like the picture of the bee being hit on the back - wonderful!


  27. meg

    Reply

    Hi this is a really good site, I'm from WA, but there's things on here that I've never seen!


  28. Jill

    Reply

    In the bush at the end of our street we have these beautiful little plants grow along the either side of the fire break in profusion. The type I see look like the 'book' except they are pale pink. I have a nice photograph of them. They are intriguing indeed and the trigger does snap over fast and can hold onto a piece of grass quite easily. I just bought a stylidium palgarup for my garden and was looking for more information on this particular plant, but I have found it very hard to come by.


  29. Leisl

    Reply

    This stunning pictures made my day thankyou for the wonderful experience WELL DONE !!!!!!!


  30. Ryan

    Reply

    I absolutely love your photography of the triggerplants. Great material! I've never seen these plants in such detail before. Inclusion of wider-angle shots showing their habitat is also very nice to see, especially for those of us that admire these plants far from their native range. Again, wonderful job on these photos here. I'm certainly jealous of your talents.


  31. Cassie

    Reply

    Those images are stunning, very beautiful photography. I came here looking for information on their supposed carnivorous nature, I was reading that they have stalked mucous glands on them that secrete digestive enzymes, but research has not been done to see if they actually absorb nutrients.
    Australia is full of so many interesting plants, I love this country.
    Anyway, if I go on a holiday to WA, I will definitely keep an eye out for these interesting plants. Since I'm not, I am going to search for them in my local nurseries. Keep up the good photography.


  32. A. Roguenant & A. Raynal

    Reply

    Splendid pictures, and so interesting from a biological point of view !
    We enjoyed meeting these plants in the wild, in Australia.
    Congratulations.

    from France


  33. Bev Campbell

    Reply

    Wow what a wonderful plant. Thank you for sharing these photos with us, it is a marvelous plant species.
    If they are available commercially, the would sell fast
    thank you again for allowing us to view your photos



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