Narratives Details:

Pollination and predation of Grias cauliflora. By R. Aguilar & S. A. Mori.

Reinaldo Aguilar, Scott Alan Mori
Scientific Name:

Grias cauliflora L.

At the end of March 2012, the senior author of this note observed a tree of Grias cauliflora in full flower on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica (Aguilar 13577). The inflorescences arise from the trunk and branches and start to open in the late afternoon when they emit a very sweet smell. Because there are no field observations on the pollination of this or any other species of Grias, the senior author observed the tree from about 3:00 p.m. into the evening but, unfortunately, did not observe pollinators visiting the flowers. It has been suggested that beetles may be the pollinators of at least a few species of Grias because the aromas of some species are dominated by fatty acid derivatives known to attract beetles (Knudsen & Mori, 1996). The junior author believes that bees may pollinate the yellow-flowered species and that even bats may be the pollinators of the purple-flowered Grias purpuripetala (Mori et al., 2010). Although pollinators were not observed, larvae of metalmark butterflies (Riodinideae) were photographed consuming the petals and androecia of the flowers as shown in the accompanying images.