For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Floss Flower (Ageratum houstonianum)

Family Asteraceae
The plant is native to Central America and adjacent parts of Mexico, but has become an invasive weed in other areas.
Ageratum houstonianum  is a cool-season annual plant often grown as bedding in gardens. The plant grows to 0.3–1 m high, with ovate to triangular leaves 2–7 cm long, and blue flowers (sometimes white, pink, or purple). The flower heads are borne in dense corymbs. The ray flowers are threadlike, leading to the common name.
Ageratum has evolved an ingenious method of protecting itself from insects; it produces a precocene compound which interferes with the normal function of the corpus allatum, the organ responsible for secreting juvenile hormone. This chemical triggers the next molting cycle to prematurely develop adult structures, and can render most insects sterile if ingested in large enough quantities.