Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sticky Catchfly/ Tjærenellike

Lychnis viscaria

Sticky Catchfly/Tjærenellike is a very attractive plant with dark pink flowers on a tall stem, which is sticky just below each pair of leaves. The plant is said to increase the disease resistance of surrounding plants. Extract from it contains a relatively high amount of brassino-steroids, which have a proven positive effect on the growth of other plants. In Germany the extract is allowed for use as a 'plant strengthening substance.' Sticky catchfly is native to Europe, Asia and North America.

If you pluck it, your fingers almost fasten in the tar-like paste on the stem, and if you look closely you'll see little dead and half-dead insects in the paste. The English name sticky catcfly is well-chosen. It is not a carnivorous plant though - on the contrary it has lots of nectar for bees and butterflies. In fact it is one of the best nectar plants in Denmark. On the other hand the plant wages war on the insects that try to steal the nectar, the so-called nectar robbers, fx ants. They empty the flowers of nectar without pollinating them , and insects on their way up fasten helplessly in the paste on the stem. Mother Nature is really smart.

photo 250508: grethe bachmann, Stigsholm Sø, Mid Jutland

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