Día de amistad y amor

Valentine’s Day – why not celebrate with flowers? Here are two species from the cloud forest, photographed in a spirit of love and friendship.

First, a plant in the Melastomataceae family, with four-petaled flowers.

And second, Begonia decandra (Begoniaceae).

This latter flower is interesting. What you might think are petals are actually sepals, which normally are protective tissues that protect the petals – but in this family, there are no petals at all – evolution has selected for showy sepals that converge on the same function as true petals! Begonias tend to have either four or five sepals per flower. Also, this flower has only stamens but no ovaries – it is a male flower, but female flowers can be found on the same individual plant. This is very different how humans reproduce!

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