|A bud about to burst open|
Cobaea scandens is a vigorous climber from the tropical forests of Mexico. It climbs using hooked tendrils which spin round in spiral movements to grip onto supports. In its natural environment it grows as a perennial, but in the temperate zone it is usually grown as an annual, where it will put on a lot of growth in a short period of time, and flower at the end of the summer.
|A creamy white, newly opened flower|
Protruding from the back of the petals there are five stamens, each carrying a pair of pollen parcels, or anthers at their tips. These parcels need to open up to release the pollen that they hold, and once this has happened the anthers are pushed forwards and held up ready for a pollinator. The pollinator of choice for a Cobaea scandens is a bat. This is significant because it explains some the flowers' morphology, and why they open their petals during the night. The size and shape of the flower is perfect for a small nectar-eating bat to sup from, while brushing its belly against the stamens to extract the pollen, and then to deposit it neatly onto the style of another flower.
|The flower begins to turn purple|
|A mature flower|