|Viola labradorica flower|
|Viola macloskeyi flower|
One of the things that may jump out at you when looking at my viola photos is that most of them are "bearded" - meaning that they have fine hairs along the inner portions of the petals. So what's that all about?
Well, those fine hairs are there to increase the odds of pollination. While the pollinator is pushing its way up the throat of the flower to get at the nectar in the spur (which extends behind the flower), its body is rubbing over the hairs and the pistil of the flower. Pollen that has already been deposited on the belly of the pollinator will be transferred to the pistil, while pollen from the flower will be spread over its sides and belly to be carried to the next flower.
So those hairs aren't just decoration; they help the flower increase its chances of spreading its genes.