The Selfish Gene

“To quote The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, on the subject of the relationship between evolution and survival mechanisms: ‘A duck is a robot vehicle for the propagation of duck genes.’ This is but another way of making Darwin’s point that if emotions are that widespread across both human and animal kingdoms, they have been proved, evolutionary, as crucial to the process of survival, and are inextricably linked to the origins of the species.” ~ Candace B. Pert, Ph.D.

Aristolochia Labiata

“The fascinating flowers of this climber are filling the  air with a putrid aroma in the Palm House. A Brazilian native, Aristolochia labiata is one of approximately 300 species of Dutchman’s pipes. Most are evergreen or deciduous climbers, though a few are shrubs or scandent perennials. All have white, purple or brown heavily veined petalless, and often zygomorphic flowers (having one plane of symmetry). In this species the flowers are fleshy in appearance, and have a large calyx and an inflated tube. The flower colouring and the pungent scent of rotting carrion help to attract pollinating flies to the flowers. The flies are drawn into the flower to access the reproductive organs by a translucent window in the base of the tube, and the tube has downward-facing hairs which ensure the flies can’t escape until the flower is pollinated. Once pollination has occurred the hairs relax and the flies escape from the flower.”

via Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
Aristolochia Labiata. Botanical Garden of Tête d’Or Park. Photo: Jacqueline Ashby