Inflorescence production by Brownea rosa-de-monte (Leguminosae) and feeding behaviour of the Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus.
Plants that present their flowers in a manner which encourages several rather than just one visit by the pollinator and so increase pollen transfer can be considered at a selective advantage. The characteristics of the flowers visited by hermit hummingbirds have been described by Stiles (1975, 1978, 1979); they tend to be large conspicuous flowers, often in inflorescences, with large corollas and copious quantities of rich nectar. Inflorescences containing varying numbers of flowers are likely to be differentially successful at encouraging visits by a pollinator and hence the chances of cross-fertilization. This study investigated the flower presentation of Brownea rosa-de-monte, an understorey tree of the lowland rain forests of Central America which produces large red inflorescences visited by the non-territorial Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus.