In den Bergen Chinas hat eine Blume kürzlich beschlossen, ihr Schicksal (metaphorisch) in die Hand zu nehmen, um sich vor Sammlern zu schützen, die ihre Ruhe bedrohen. Die Perlmutter hat ihr zitronengelbes Outfit für ein diskreteres Outfit aufgegeben.
Do you know the fritillary, this charming flower – a member of the lily family – whose petals often decorated with checkerboard patterns have tempted more than one hiker to pluck it without further ado? It is because of this somewhat unwelcome behavior that the latest evolutions of the plant have led it to merge more and more with the landscape. Indeed, in China, the researchers noted that the Fritillaria delavayi variety had recently abandoned its yellow-green dress to adopt brown tones, making it impossible to discern against the background of a stony slope.
A sought-after beauty
Endemic to the Hengduan Mountains, our fritillaria point the tip of its petals at more than 3,000 meters, on rocky and sandy slopes. (Alpine hikers may have already met its sister, the guinea fowl fritillary, adorned in sumptuous shades of fuchsia.) After a brief summer, the plant leaves its leaves and spends the winter growing its bulb. , solidly anchored underground. It is only after five years that its single flower, a yellowish green, finally emerges, giving it the appearance of a tiny colored flag, planted in the stone.
If the surface part of the fritillary is toxic, its bulb, used in traditional medicine, sells for a high price. Faced with the influx of pickers surveying the slopes to harvest its counterparts, the fritillary has recently changed its strategy, the researchers note in an article published in the journal Current Biology. Dark flowers with brown hues have gradually gained the upper hand in areas where picking is most intense, while in areas spared yellow continues to prevail. As usual, natural selection does things right, and hopefully this flower won’t be threatened anytime soon.