Thursday, 23 January 2014

EVERLASTING DAISIES AND PAINTED LADIES

Xerochrysum (syn. Bracteantha) is a genus of flowering plants native to Australia. It was defined by Russian botanist Nikolai Tzvelev in 1990, preceding (and taking precedence over) Bracteantha which was described the following year. A 2002 molecular study of the tribe Gnaphalieae has indicated the genus is probably polyphyletic, with X. bracteatum and X. viscosum quite removed from each other.

Shown here is Xerochrysum bicolor, native to Tasmania, where it is found in wetter habitats near the coast. It was originally described by Lindley in 1835 as Helichrysum bicolor, before gaining its current name in 2001. It is a compact annual or perennial, which normally grows to about 40 cm in height and 50 cm wide, and is usually simple or few-branched. The leaves are lanceolate and range from 2.5 to 10 cm long by 0.3 to 1.4 cm wide. The flowerheads are on stalks and have a diameter of 3 to 4 cm.The inflorescence bracts are papery, the outer ones orange-brown in colour, and the inner ones yellow. It is distinguished from X. bracteatum by its narrower leaves.

Vanessa kershawi, commonly known as the Australian Painted Lady, is a butterfly that is mostly confined to Australia, although westerly winds have dispersed it to islands east of Australia, including New Zealand. There is debate surrounding the taxonomy of this species. Some believe that the Australian Painted Lady should be a subspecies to the Painted Lady due to the similarity in lifestyle and behaviour. Furthermore, the Painted Lady is found around the globe but Australia is the only location in which it varies enough to be considered a separate species. However, due to the distinct genitalia of the males, and variation in coloration, many others consider the Australian Painted Lady to be a separate species.

During spring, adult butterflies migrate south in large numbers from northern states of Queensland and New South Wales. In order to find mates, male Australian Painted Ladies exhibit territorial behaviour, which involves a male perching on vegetation in a sunny spot on a hilltop, waiting for females to fly by. Despite urbanisation and invasive plants altering its habitat, populations of Australian Painted Ladies have not been significantly impacted by these changes.

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Winged meme,
and also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.





5 comments:

  1. Georgeous flowers and even more beautiful butterfly - great photos!

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  2. Beautiful and the butterfly adds a nice touch!

    Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  3. Great, i love the butterflies more than the flowers here!

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