A close look reveals the dainty, delicate nature of a Leucospermum oleifolium flowerhead. The thin styles are tipped with tiny, tapering pollen presenters, orange-brown in colour.
In the younger flowerhead in the photo about half of the styles are still curved back sharply, their pollen presenters still caught in the tips of the perianth segments where pollen offloads upon the sticky stigma surfaces have to be completed.
Not yet being functional stigmas though, the erect pollen presenters are not (at this time) receptive to their own flower’s pollen. So they rather hold the male component of seed production up there at the ready, for smearing onto nectar seeking passersby.
No consciousness is available to worry or hope that these alien visitors will deliver the pollen in the right place. Only the nectar reward keeps them doing multiple flower visits until they've eaten enough, become pollen-dirty enough.
Species that face much risk regarding the required chain of events in their reproductive sequences often survive from preparing overabundance. So a Leucospermum woman’s work is never finished, ensuring also that the man's requirement can be met.
And timing is such a big issue in reproduction. Chance will favour those that multiply the number of opportunities, prepare for many rolls of the dice... the way to go for all those that don’t know the mathematical statistics for doing just enough.
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