Saturday September 13, 2014 Guerneville CA.
California Dutchman’s flower pods open and a mystery solved
I’ve been watching my California Dutchman’s flower pods now for awhile as I know they open up to spread their seeds around this time of year. I’ve seen them open up before, already opened up and all the seeds were gone and I couldn’t find any of them on the ground below the pod, so I was wondering what happened to the seeds when the pods opened up?
Yesterday, I noticed one of the pods was just starting to open, so this morning I checked it out and it had opened some more. The first thing I noticed was some ants going into them. They were too small to pack off the big seeds the pod holds.
Yellow Jackets packing off the seeds
But then, another insect shot into the plant, a yellow jacket. I watched for a bit as other yellow jackets came to the pod and packed away the seeds and the material in the pod around the seeds.
I wanted to see what the yellow jackets where eating, so I opened one of the pods up a bit, by peeling a couple of the segments back to expose the seeds and the inside of the pod. The yellow jackets came and packed off the seeds and the parts of the pod that the seeds are in.
I put some clothe material under a pod and dropped some seeds on it to see if any yellow jackets would come to carry it off and sure enough, they did.
Propagating yellow jackets?
It seems the California Dutchman’s flower has a thing going with the yellow jackets. The yellow jackets are likely propagating the flowers seeds. They pack them back to the nest for the eatable goods on the outside of the seed. They likely lose some of the big seeds on the way back to the nest accidentally dropping them and not being able to find them in the litter on the ground.
So, now I know what happens to the flower pods seeds.
I spent the rest of the day working around the yard and taking it easy too. I did a few little projects and was sitting in one of my chairs along a fence when I heard a squirrel coming down the big redwood tree at the other end of the fence. I got my camera ready as I knew the squirrel might be coming down the top of the fence as I’ve seen them do it before.
I spent the rest of the day chair hopping and taking it easy enjoying my yard